USS MOUNT WHITNEY (LCC/JCC-20) -- Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler hosted President, Republic of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh here today, along with several other high-level officials from Djibouti.
President Guelleh has been a key leader within the Horn of Africa region in the Global War on Terrorism, having provided both basing and infrastructure support to coalition forces.
While he has hosted Maj. Gen. Sattler several times and many other officials engaged in the war on terrorism, to include U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in December, today's visit marked his first trip to the CJTF headquarters - flagship, which routinely operates in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean waters.
The Djiboutian delegation also included Cabinet Director, Mr. Ismael Houssein Tani, Director of State Protocol, Mr. Mohamed Ali Chaker, Director of National Security, Mr. Hassan Said Khaireh, Deputy Director of National Security, Mr. Mohamed Abdillahi, Director of Finance, Mr. Djama Miguil Robleh and Chief of Defense, Maj. Gen. Fathi Ahmed Houssein. United States Ambassador to Djibouti, Donald Y. Yamamoto, accompanied the delegation.
President Guelleh was briefed 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 Guelleh also had individual discussions. Their talks focused on the CJTF counter-terrorism mission and Djibouti's contributions and future role in activities aimed at complementing CJTF-HOA efforts in detecting, disrupting and defeating transnational terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa region.
The two leaders discussed specific local issues such as ongoing training between CJTF and Djiboutian military forces in anti-terrorism tactics and techniques designed to improve security operations at the Port of Djibouti and other key cites. Also discussed were greater regional issues centering on progress of CJTF-HOA intelligence gathering operations and expansion of an information-sharing network between all coalition partners engaged in counter-terrorism activities.
Maj. Gen. Sattler and President Guelleh both expressed satisfaction with the progress of counter-terrorism operations in Djibouti and the region. Both also reaffirmed desires for further cooperation in the areas of security, information sharing and mutually beneficial activities such as military training and civil affairs programs.
Djibouti is a fully integrated partner in the CJTF-HOA force protection plan, providing information and security assistance to coalition forces operating from Camp Lemonier. Djibouti's key contribution to coalition operations across the Horn of Africa thus far has been providing access to its strategic location and assistance in creating a secure environment from which to conduct counter-terrorism operations across the region.
In turn, CJTF-HOA forces have regularly worked with Djibouti's military providing training in small craft employment, martial arts skills, weapons employment and anti-terrorism tactics. CJTF-HOA forces have also engaged in a variety of civic projects ranging from medical assistance visits in Dorale and Damerdjog to construction, water restoration and supply distribution in more than eight villages across the country.
Maj. Gen. Sattler and President Guelleh recognize and discussed concerns associated with having U.S. and coalition forces fighting the war on terrorism from Djibouti. However, both leaders readily agreed that left unchecked, the regional terrorist threat presents an even more significant risk to the economies, security, stability and long-term quality of life for all nations and people in the Horn of Africa region.
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.