Mark Esper was in Carthage on Wednesday, September 29 as part of a trip to the Maghreb. Tunis welcomes the strengthening of already close ties with Washington, while its US ally since 2015 has considered it a major non-member of NATO. This visit was the occasion for new commitments.
as reported from Tunis Michel Picard
At the U.S. Military Cemetery in Carthage, Mark Esper paid tribute to the memory of his countrymen who fell in World War II. Earlier, the US Secretary of Defense signed a military cooperation agreement for the next ten years. A long-term strategic commitment that makes it possible to consolidate and encourage military cooperation, based mainly on the provision of anti-terrorism equipment and the training of the army.
The United States is a strong ally of Tunisia in the fight against terrorist attacks from Algeria and Libya. One of the biggest fears comes from the southern border, where the Libyan conflict threatens to spread across its borders. The threat of regional instability associated with foreign interference on Libyan soil is taken very seriously, and intelligence sharing is also on the agenda for the next decade.
Washington has estimated its investment in the Tunisian army at $ 1 billion since the fall of Ben Ali. The idea of an American base in the southern country, which is often mentioned, is not on the agenda. U.S. troops are now participating in the training of Tunisian soldiers in their fight against terrorism, without, according to the two countries, participating in the fighting. And in the north, an American squadron would have been allowed to train at the Tunisian base of Bizerte.
Beyond the region, the Pentagon is looking closely at Russian and Chinese activities on the continent, with Africom, the US command for Africa, intensifying cooperation and investment and seeking to find land to establish or consolidate bases.
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