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Africa Command Deputy Meets Nigerian Leadership, Speaks on Security Reform at ECOWAS Conference
U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, met with senior Nigerian government officials and spoke to West African military professional about the U.S. role in support of security sector reform during two days of
ABUJA, Nigeria - U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, discusses the military role in supporting security sector reform during a five-day regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 4: ABUJA, Nigeria - U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, discusses the military role in supporting security sector reform during a five-day regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigeria's Minister of State for Defense Ademola Rasaq Seriuki talks with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, on April 21, 2009. Yates held two days of meetings in Nigeria to discuss cooperation and partnership with Nigeria for regional security.(Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 4: ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigeria's Minister of State for Defense Ademola Rasaq Seriuki talks with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, on April 21, 2009. Yates held two days of meetings in Nigeria to discuss cooperation and partnership with Nigeria for regional security.(Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
ABUJA, Nigeria - West Africa military and government officials listen to a speech on security sector reform April 21, 2009, by U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at a regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 4: ABUJA, Nigeria - West Africa military and government officials listen to a speech on security sector reform April 21, 2009, by U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at a regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
ABUJA, Nigeria - Journalists interview U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at the Nigerian Ministry of Defence on April 21, 2009. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 4 of 4: ABUJA, Nigeria - Journalists interview U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at the Nigerian Ministry of Defence on April 21, 2009. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command) Download full-resolution version
ABUJA, Nigeria - U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, discusses the military role in supporting security sector reform during a five-day regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigeria's Minister of State for Defense Ademola Rasaq Seriuki talks with U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, on April 21, 2009. Yates held two days of meetings in Nigeria to discuss cooperation and partnership with Nigeria for regional security.(Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
ABUJA, Nigeria - West Africa military and government officials listen to a speech on security sector reform April 21, 2009, by U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at a regional conference co-hosted by the U.S. Defense Department, the Nigerian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). About 75 security sector professionals from across West Africa attended the five-day conference. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
ABUJA, Nigeria - Journalists interview U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders (right) and U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary C. Yates, at the Nigerian Ministry of Defence on April 21, 2009. (Photo by Vince Crawley, U.S. Africa Command)
U.S. Africa Command's civilian deputy, Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, met with senior Nigerian government officials and spoke to West African military professional about the U.S. role in support of security sector reform during two days of meetings April 20-21 in Nigeria's capital. Yates also met with reporters alongside U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Robin Renee Sanders to answer questions about the future location of Africa Command headquarters and about security in the Gulf of Guinea. Both Yates and Sanders stressed that Africa Command (AFRICOM) is not seeking to station combat troops or build new bases in Africa. They also emphasized that a recent U.S. ship visit to Nigeria carried an international crew, including Nigerian Navy officers, to promote regional cooperation in Gulf of Guinea maritime security. As part of a three-nation trip, Yates also was scheduled to travel to Senegal and Guinea Bissau. Yates is U.S. Africa Command's deputy to the commander for civil-military activities. Yates and Sanders met with senior Nigerian government officials, including: Yayale Ahmed, state secretary of government for the federation of Nigeria, who is a senior presidential advisor; Nigeria's Foreign Minister Oye Madueke; Nigeria's Minister of State for Defence Ademola Rasaq Seriuki; and Chairman of ECOWAS Ibn Chambas. The meetings centered on U.S. Defense Department cooperation and partnership with Nigeria, as well as West African security cooperation and partnerships. A main focus of Yates' Nigeria visit was to address approximately 75 military and government professionals attending a Security Sector Reform conference co-hosted by regional governments and the U.S. Defense Department's Africa Center for Strategic Studies. Yates and Sanders said that ECOWAS, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African states, plays an important role in regional security. The Nigerian National Defence College, along with ECOWAS and the U.S. Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) hosted the five-day conference, which began April 20. Military and civilian officials from across West Africa are attending the conference, formally called the 2009 ECOWAS Strategic Level Seminar on Security Sector Reform in West Africa. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. government and like-minded international partners have worked to build a comprehensive approach to security sector reform by better integrating diplomacy, development and defense, which together make a "three-legged stool," Yates said in an hour-long speech and discussion. "By working together, under the leadership of our State Department diplomats, the U.S. objective is to promote effective, legitimate, transparent, and accountable security and development in partner states," Yates said. The U.S. Department of State has the leadership role in security sector reform, including responsibility for overseeing all U.S. government programs that impact the security sector, Yates said. In practice, this means U.S. Embassies coordinate and approve all U.S. government programs and activities in specific countries. For example, Yates said, the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, also plays an essential role in security sector reform, with programs that focus on governance, conflict mitigation and response, reintegration and reconciliation, and rule of law. "Our government has noted that development efforts are at risk without basic security," Yates said, explaining the role of defense in supporting diplomacy and development. The U.S. Defense Department and U.S. Africa Command play a supporting role in security sector reform, Yates said, emphasizing that nations and governments must be committed to reform if they want to make effective change. According to Yates, the U.S. government guiding principles for security sector reform include: Supporting Host-Nation ownership; SSR programs cannot succeed without the full dedication of the partner country. Incorporating principles of good governance and respect for human rights in all programs Balancing operational support with institutional reform Linking security and justice Fostering transparency And, finally, Doing No Harm, a principle that U.S. Africa Command's General William Ward emphasizes repeatedly, Yates said. Meeting with reporters at Nigeria's Defense Ministry, Yates and Sanders were asked about potential future locations of U.S. Africa Command. Nigerian public discussion has been strongly opposed to hosting U.S. combat forces or bases, but U.S. officials say Africa Command seeks neither of those and instead is building upon long-standing relationships with Nigeria, an important contributor to peacekeeping and regional security. "The decision has been taken that the Africa Command headquarters will remain in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future," Yates told reporters. "Right now we're concentrating on building the command and improving our programs with our African partners." Journalists also asked about U.S. policy to protect resources in the Gulf of Guinea, and how that was related to the recent visit of a U.S. military ship, USS Nashville, to Nigeria. Yates said it would be inappropriate for a military official to comment on U.S. foreign policy. "But I can say," she added, "that the U.S. Africa Command has worked closely with the nations of the Gulf of Guinea to develop a maritime domain awareness program." Sanders, the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, said the Nashville visited Nigeria "as part of a training exercise where we provide capacity building to the countries of the Gulf of Guinea." The U.S. ship included an international crew, Sanders said. "There were Nigerian military, civilian as well as uniformed services, on board to work with other militaries and a part of ECOWAS in a training program for over several months," Sanders said. "And so it was part of our efforts to be helpful to the capacity-building that we have been asked for by the Nigerians and by some of the other countries in the region. So there's nothing nefarious there at all. It’s really our response to requests that we have been getting for assistance and for training and for capacity-building, particularly on maritime issues."
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