Mozambique: Military Agreement With United States

Maputo — The governments of Mozambique and the United States signed on Wednesday in Maputo an "Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement" (ACSA), aiming at mutual assistance in terms of logistical support and other military services between the two countries.

The document was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Defence Ministry, Teofilo Joao, and the representative of the United States European Command (USEUCOM), Rear-Admiral Michael Lyden.

Mozambican Defence Minister Tobias Dai, who witnessed the signing, explained that this agreement "is for mutual help between the two countries in the areas of training, logistics, the fight against the HIV/AIDS, among others, and to help prepare the Mozambican armed forces to take part in peace keeping missions".

Not only would this help train and equip the Mozambican soldiers involved in peace keeping missions in countries such as Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and now Uganda, but also actions inside the country, including mine clearance, health care and mobility of soldiers, and the sustainability of the Defence Ministry's programmes.

Declining to give any figures in terms of costs, Dai said this is a programme that will be developed as needs - including the response to natural disasters - appear, and so there are no figures to be given. He said that most of the US programmes take the form of grants, but some may be given as loans.

Cited in a statement from the US embassy, the US Defence Attache, Lt-Col John Roddy, said the signing "shows we are increasing and cementing our relations with the Mozambican Defence Force (FADM). This is an important agreement which makes it possible to support peace-keeping operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, bilateral exercises and other unforeseen contingencies".

"You never know when it may be required, but once signed, the agreement is there if needed", said Reddy.

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