URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The Commander of the United States-Africa Command (USAFRICOM), Gen. Carter F. Ham, yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.
The two held discussions on a range of issues, including regional security.
Ham ,who is in the country to attend the International Conference on Youth Radicalisation in East Africa, also held talks with Rwandan defence and army officials.
“I had the opportunity to meet the President and senior military and civilian advisors to talk about military partnerships that exist between our two countries.
“The objective for the cooperation between our military is mainly aimed at benefiting from military-to-military relations and these happen in a number of different ways,” Ham told the press after the meeting.
Part of the cooperation, he said, has seen a number of commissioned and non-commissioned officers benefit from training programmes, while American soldiers also travel to Rwanda to engage in military activities, mainly in research and training.
“We partner very closely to prepare Rwandan forces that deploy for United Nations peacekeeping missions, not only in Africa, but around the world, which is a valuable contribution as well,” he said.
“Our security interests between the US and Rwanda are very closely aligned, and the more closely the militaries of our two countries can cooperate and understand each other, the better our both nations will become,” Gen. Ham underlined.
According to Lt. Gen Charles Kayonga, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Ham who is on his second visit to Rwanda since taking over the command of AFRICOM, the visit is a routine one aimed at assessing the progress and discuss possible partnerships.
“Part of his visit was to attend the international conference on youth radicalisation which aims at encouraging youth to shun extremism. It brings together 11 countries from the region and beyond,” Kayonga explained.
“The visit is also partly to discuss with us on the cooperation, mainly military, between our two countries. We have had lengthy discussions on many issues, mainly training our officers who go for peacekeeping missions,” Kayonga said.
Gen. Ham last visited Rwanda last year after replacing Gen. William Ward.