United States Defence Secretary Jim Mattis visits Djibouti

Vastavam web: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrived today for a short visit to Djibouti, a strategically important country on the Horn of Africa which hosts the United States’ only permanent military base on the African continent.Camp Lemonnier, home to some 4,000 US soldiers and contractors, is vital to US military operations in Somalia against militant groups like Al-Shabaab, and also provides support for US operations in Yemen, where special forces regularly carry out drone strikes against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.Mattis is scheduled to meet with Djibouti’s president, Ismael Omar Guelleh, during his trip as well as with General Thomas Waldhauser, commander of US troops in Africa.
“For (the defence department) Camp Lemonnier and Chabelley are critical in terms of logistics. They support multiple US combat command”, a senior defence official said, referring to an airfield close to the camp, from which the US military operates drones.”At this point I don’t see why we should not be able to comfortably coexist with the Chinese presence, the way we do with the Japanese, the French” the official told reporters last week.However, Waldhauser assured the US Senate’s armed forces committee in March that he had spoken to Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese may or may not do”.The former French colony has launched major infrastructure projects aimed at turning it into a regional hub for trade and services, using money largely borrowed from China.

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