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AFRICOM Leader Visits Spain, Portugal; Looks Forward to Future Cooperation
Army General William E. &#34;Kip&#34; Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, met with Spanish and Portuguese leaders during a multi-day visit to both countries June 9-12, 2008. <br /> <br />The visit was the first that Ward had made to either
Army General William E. "Kip" Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, met with Spanish and Portuguese leaders during a multi-day visit to both countries June 9-12, 2008.

The visit was the first that Ward had made to either country in his new role as Africa Command senior leader.

In the capital cities of Madrid and Lisbon, Ward and his delegation met with several military and civilian officials to discuss U.S. Africa Command, Spanish and Portuguese security cooperation programs in Africa and areas for potential cooperation.

"This trip is completely about 'listening and learning' -- it's a chance for us to draw from the experience and close historical ties that Spain and Portugal share with many African nations," General Ward said.

The general also met with many African representatives from five Lusophone countries, which are nations that were former Portuguese colonies and that continue to have strong connections with Portugal, including sharing the Portuguese language.

"Spain and Portugal share similar interests with the U.S. regarding Africa," Air Force Major Brittany Stewart, Africa Command engagement division said. "Spain has strong historic ties with Africa and great expertise, especially on North Africa and European-African relations. AFRICOM can learn from Spain's experiences and benefit from partnership in security capacity building activities." Stewart previously worked as a European engagement officer when assigned with U.S. European Command, in Stuttgart, Germany, prior to her transfer to Africa Command.

Stewart added that Portugal also shares strong historic relations and existing security capacity buildind programs with several African nations. "Portugal especially concentrates on Lusophone Africa," she said. "The Commonwealth of Portuguese Speaking Nations, known as CPLP, conducts peacekeeping operations and disaster response exercises with all Lusophone nations."

While in Lisbon, Ward met with the head of CPLP and ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from five Lusophone countries including Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.

"Every nation around the world benefits from a stable and secure Africa, but each has limited resources to apply toward security capacity building efforts," Gen. Ward said. "Together we can cooperate to bring coherent programs to the African continent."
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