USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC-20) -- Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler concluded a five-day official visit to Ethiopia and Kenya yesterday, having met with government and military officials in both countries to discuss ongoing efforts and progress in the Global War on Terrorism in the Horn of Africa region.
While in Addis Ababa April 21-23, Sattler met with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss future relationships between CJTF-HOA operations and Ethiopian efforts to fight the war on terrorism within their own borders.
In his third visit to Ethiopia this year, Sattler and Meles agreed that distinct progress was being made in combating terrorism. During talks, also attended by Ms. Aurelia Brazeal, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia and the Chief of Staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Lt. Gen. Yunus Samora, Sattler highlighted, among other issues, that in the last 100 days CJTF-HOA had met three initial objectives.
Sattler noted CJTF-HOA has developed a command and control structure for executing counter-terrorism operations, developed an intelligence picture focusing counter-terrorism operations and developed an information-sharing network with Coalition partners to support coordinated counter-terrorism operations across the Horn of Africa region.
In a meeting with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) representatives on Wednesday, Sattler toured a food distribution site to gain a first-hand appreciation for the challenges faced by the Ethiopian people and government. He met with local village elders and discussed the needs of their families.
Sattler commented that, "Although the focus of CJTF-HOA is on the Global War on Terrorism, a key element in this is making a positive difference in the lives of the people in the region as well as their environment. I was very impressed by the spirit and friendliness of the people we met today who are dealing with hardships with both courage and a positive attitude."
In Nairobi, Sattler had talks with the Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, praising Kenya's progress and recent successes in fighting the war on terrorism. U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Mr. Johnnie Carson, also attended Thursday's meeting.
Sattler and Musyoka had talks on counter-terrorism operations in January, shortly after President Mwai Kibaki's inauguration as Kenya's third president. At those talks, the two agreed on the need for cooperation in the areas of security and information sharing.
In assessing progress of counter-terrorism efforts since January, both leaders agreed terrorism remains a threat to the region. However, terrorists are under direct pressure from coalition partners, finding it increasingly difficult to plan, communicate and execute activities.
Sattler reaffirmed that CJTF-HOA considers Kenya a valued partner in the fight to detect, disrupt and defeat terrorism, and with the help and support of the Kenyan government and people, together this fight for safety, security and stability will be successful.
Additionally, Sattler had meetings with military leaders, Gen. Joseph Kibwana, Chief of General Staff for the Kenyan military and new Kenyan Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Mutinda Kianga, who took office Feb. 27. The leaders agreed that the war on terrorism is a long-term effort requiring a commitment to action and discussed the future of military activities as a means of applying more direct pressure on transnational terrorist networks in the Horn of Africa region.
The CJTF headquarters was formed to oversee operations in the Horn of Africa for U.S. Central Command in support of the Global War on Terrorism and is defining the Horn of Africa region as the airspace, land areas and coastal waters of Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Yemen.
The CJTF headquarters has about 400 members aboard the USS Mount Whitney, operating in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean areas, nearly 1,100 personnel at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti and a small number of liaison personnel in other parts of the Horn of Africa region.