ABOARD THE USS MOUNT WHITNEY -- Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander, Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler hosted a presidential delegation from Eritrea here Monday and then led a CJTF delegation on a visit to Eritrea Tuesday.
With his visit to the CJTF-HOA operational headquarters, President Isaias Afwerki became the first Horn of Africa head of State to come aboard the high-tech flagship, USS Mount Whitney, since its arrival in the region on Dec. 12, 2002. As part of its counter-terrorism mission, CJTF-HOA routinely operates in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters.
The Eritrean delegation also included Minister of Defense, Gen. Sebhat Ephraim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ali Said Abdell, top commanders of Eritrean ground,
naval and air forces and commanders of operational zones from across the country. United States Ambassador to Eritrea, Donald J. McConnell, accompanied the delegation
President Isaias received a briefing in the ship's Joint Operations Center (JOC), where CJTF-HOA coordinates and controls its war on terrorism activities across the Horn of Africa region.
Sattler and Isaias discussed several topics, primarily focusing on the CJTF-HOA mission to detect, disrupt and defeat transnational terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa region.
Also, the two leaders discussed that the CJTF-HOA mission centers on gathering information, putting elements of information together and providing information to Coalition partners so they are able to more effectively wage the war on terrorism within their own borders.
Sattler and Isaias initially met in Asmara in early January of this year, following previous visits to Eritrea by the commander of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks in March 2002 and U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld in December 2002.
During Monday's meeting, Maj. Gen. Sattler and President Isaias reaffirmed desires for cooperation in the areas of security, information sharing, commitment to defeating terrorism and establishing conditions necessary for long-term stability throughout the Horn of Africa region.
The following day, Maj. Gen. Sattler and members of the CJTF-HOA staff were hosted ashore by Gen. Ephraim for visits to Massawa Naval Base and Dahlak Island, as well tours of Beka and Hawakil islands.
The CJTF-HOA mission is founded on the Global War on Terrorism, with a specific focus on the Horn of Africa region. The mission has no link to ongoing actions in Iraq and further, CJTF-HOA operations are not supporting or contingent upon issues in Iraq.
The CJTF headquarters was formed to oversee counter-terrorism operations in the region for U.S. Central Command and defines the Horn of Africa region as the airspace, land areas and coastal waters of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen.
The CJTF headquarters has about 400 members, representing all U.S. armed services, civilian personnel and Coalition forces - all aboard USS Mount Whitney.
CJTF-HOA forces also include about 1,300 personnel at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti and a small number of liaison personnel working in other parts of the region.