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U.S. AFRICOM Deputy Visits Liberia
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, deputy to the commander for military operations for the newly formed U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), visited Monrovia, Liberia, December 18-19. <br /> <br />During the visit, Moeller participated in the
U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, deputy to the commander for military operations for the newly formed U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), visited Monrovia, Liberia, December 18-19.

During the visit, Moeller participated in the activation of three infantry companies for 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Brigade. The activation marked the stand up of the first units of the new Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). Since 2006, the U.S. government has supported the development and training of Liberia's new armed forces.

Since the end of Liberia's civil war in 2003, the United States has contributed approximatley $750 million toward Liberia's reconstruction and development and more than $750 million to support the U.N. Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), according to the U.S. Department of State. The U.S. plans to commit another $225 million bilaterally and through UNMIL in 2008.

"The establishment of these infantry companies, by the Liberian Ministry of Defense, is an important step in the development of a professional, a-political military for Liberia," Moeller said. "It's an example of the outstanding partnership that the U.S. and Liberia enjoy together — a partnership that demonstrates the commitment of both nations to security cooperation and assistance in Africa."

Recruiting and training for the AFL began in 2006 as the government of Liberia, with the assistance of the U.S. and United Nations forces, began to reconstruct its military after suffering civil war for 14 years. In 2003, a comprehensive peace agreement ended the war. Security is currently provided by 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers.

"This activation moves the government of Liberia forward in establishing and defending their own security and stability as the U.N. peacekeeping missions inevitably draw down," Moeller said.

While in Liberia, Moeller also met with Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Liberian Minister of Defense Brownie J. Samukai, Jr., Liberian legislators and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Donald E. Booth to discuss ongoing U.S. military security assistance programs.

U.S. Africa Command is a regional headquarters staff currently forming in Stuttgart, Germany. The command is designed to work closely with African nations and regional organizations to coordinate U.S. security assistance programs and activities on the African continent.

In the past, three different U.S. regional headquarters managed U.S. security assistance programs in Africa.

Liberians have expressed interest in U.S. Africa Command. During his visit, Moeller said the AFRICOM headquarters will remain in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future.
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