US military head meets officials in Morocco

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The Head of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), Gen. William E. Ward, Thursday began a two-day visit to Morocco, a US Embassy statement said here.

During his visit to Morocco, Ward, who arrived from Tunisia, will hold talks with several Moroccan officials on the military cooperation between the two countries.

The setting up of AFRICOM, which was launched in February 2007, cost US$50 million and its budget was set at US$75.5 million for the fiscal year (1 October 2007-30 September 2008), according to the same source.

Based on the refusal by many African countries to host AFRICOM, Rabat reportedly negotiated with the US the installation of this military structure in Tan-Tan (southern Morocco), according to reliable sources.

Military relations between Washington and Rabat, as well as with other African nations, which are currently coordinated by the European Command, will now be handled by AFRICOM, as part of the restructuring of the US Defence Department.

According to the US Embassy, AFRICOM, temporarily based in Stuttgart, Germany, plans to help African countries and regional organisations to meet their security and development needs. Panapress .

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