AFRICOM NOT HEADING TO LIBERIA: U.S. Brass Says Relocation Plan ‘Was a Mistake’


By Precious Seeboe
Source: FrontPage Africa
Monrovia –

Addressing an inquiry about any further plan to have the United States African Command Center known as AFRICOM to Africa, the Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities, J. Anthony Homes, was clear that Liberia’s dream to have the headquarters re-located to the country will never come to reality.

He further indicated that there are no more plans to move the AFRICOM headquarters from Germany to any part of the World.

“AFRICOM will remain in Germany. There is no plan to relocate it to any other country”, the Ambassador said during his lecture to the foreign service students.

Ambassador Holmes who directs the Command’s plans and programs associated with health, humanitarian assistance and demining action including others, told foreign service students at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that earlier plans to relocate the Center to Africa was a mistake.

Liberia became the sole African nation who volunteered to host the AFRICOM headquarters but former US President George W. Bush announced the headquarters will be based in Germany, rather than in Africa.

As he addressed the Third Ambassadorial Lecture Forum of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute on Tuesday October 26, 2010, Ambassador Holmes told students that there is virtually no security threat in Africa that is conducive to a unilateral solution, citing regional faults that are usually tied in with the African conflicts.

The Ambassador added, “We want to engage with virtually every country in Africa but of course we don’t have the resources to do that. So, we pursued a positive approach for this engagement. There is virtually no security threat in Africa that is conducive to a unilateral solution. Almost every one of them has a regional solution.”

Few days after it was decided for the US African command center to retain its headquarters in Germany, the Liberian Leader expressed disappointment over the US’ decision.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had expressed her government’s desire to host AFRICOM, and made several representations to US government officials on this issue.

Some Liberians had expressed concerns over the military installations that the US has had in the country in the past but with no benefits to the country. They thought it was necessary to have an awareness of some of the benefits the country would stand to gain if the AFRICOM headquarters would be constructed

On the eve of his visit to Liberia in 2008, the former United States President had said the United States would seriously consider Liberia as the headquarters for the new African command AFRICOM. But a last minute decision to have the headquarters remain in Germany left Liberia’s hope of serving as the host-nation of AFRICOM in the dark.

Bush had said AFRICOM was aimed at assisting African countries in strengthening capacities to deal with traffickers and terrorists with a main purpose of promoting peace, security and common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa. Since its creation last year, it has been headquartered in Germany.

The need to have AFRICOM headquartered in Africa was met with misperceptions by many Africans who thought it was a plan to invade the continent. This prompted President Sirleaf’s response at the time when the post-conflict country was vying for providing a place for the command’s headquarters. She said the true intent of AFRICOM was being misunderstood by many including Liberians, who saw AFRICOM as a military force to be based in Liberia for military purposes.

As Liberia had just begun re-building its new Armed Forces at the time, the President said contrary to misconception, AFRICOM is intended to conduct training of African armies to give them the capacity to intervene in conflicts around AFRICA.

AFRICOM is one of six of the US Defense Department’s regional military headquarters which was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. Locations of the other five regional commands and their locations include US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, its European Command located in Stuttgart, Germany and Northern Command located in North ColoradoOn the eve of his visit to Liberia in 2008, the former United States President had said the United States would seriously consider Liberia as the headquarters for the new African command AFRICOM. But a last minute decision to have the headquarters remain in Germany left Liberia’s hope of serving as the host-nation of AFRICOM in the dark.

Bush had said AFRICOM was aimed at assisting African countries in strengthening capacities to deal with traffickers and terrorists with a main purpose of promoting peace, security and common goals of development, health, education, democracy and economic growth in Africa. Since its creation last year, it has been headquartered in Germany.

The need to have AFRICOM headquartered in Africa was met with misperceptions by many Africans who thought it was a plan to invade the continent. This prompted President Sirleaf’s response at the time when the post-conflict country was vying for providing a place for the command’s headquarters. She said the true intent of AFRICOM was being misunderstood by many including Liberians, who saw AFRICOM as a military force to be based in Liberia for military purposes.

As Liberia had just begun re-building its new Armed Forces at the time, the President said contrary to misconception, AFRICOM is intended to conduct training of African armies to give them the capacity to intervene in conflicts around AFRICA.

AFRICOM is one of six of the US Defense Department’s regional military headquarters which was declared a fully unified command on October 1, 2008. Locations of the other five regional commands and their locations include US Central Command in Tampa, Florida, its European Command located in Stuttgart, Germany and Northern Command located in North Colorado

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