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World Pompeo makes 1st trip to Africa in bid to reassert US as leading partner

12:10  14 february  2020
12:10  14 february  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Pompeo urges U.S. state governors to be cautious in business with China

  Pompeo urges U.S. state governors to be cautious in business with China U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged governors of U.S. states and territories on Saturday to adopt a "cautious mindset" when engaging in business with China, saying Beijing was seeking to use U.S. openness to undermine the United States. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); In a speech to the National Governors Association in Washington Pompeo said China was pursuing a policy of exploiting U.S. freedoms to "gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level and the local level.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to Munich on a trip that will include his first tour of sub-Saharan Africa France has voiced particular concern at the impact of US cuts on the fight against Islamist extremism. The French are leading a 4,500-strong

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo boards his plane at Andrews Air Force Base en route to Munich on a trip that will include his first tour of sub-Saharan Africa France has voiced particular concern at the impact of US cuts on the fight against Islamist extremism. The French are leading a 4,500-strong

After nearly 22 months in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa on Saturday, in a bid to reassert the U.S. as the leading partner to the world's youngest and likely to be most populous continent amid strong Chinese influence and a growing Russian presence.

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  U.S. Faces Tough ‘Great Game’ Against China in Central Asia and Beyond KHIVA, Uzbekistan — Inside the ancient walls of the Silk Road oasis town of Khiva, China has put down a marker of its geopolitical ambitions. A sign promotes a Chinese aid project to renovate a once-crumbling mosque and a faded madrasa. Outside the town’s northern gate, a billboard-size video screen shows clips of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan meeting with world leaders. President Xi Jinping of China features prominently, but there are no shots of President Trump.© Pool photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara/EPA, via Shutterstock President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan, left, with President Xi Jinping of China last year in Beijing.

The US official said Pompeo would stress "economic growth, trade The French are leading a 4,500-strong operation in the Sahel to crush a rise in militants One former US diplomat expressed confusion over the goals of Pompeo 's trip to sub-Saharan Africa , the only region he has not previously visited.

Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds. Even there, Pompeo faces potential trouble, as lawmakers who backed his nomination to lead the CIA Some agency personnel appreciated the hands-off approach and felt empowered to make more

The top U.S. diplomat will visit Senegal, Angola and Ethiopia, describing them as "three countries in various stages of development in their transition to democracy and their stability."

MORE: Nigeria 'somewhat blindsided' by Trump's new travel ban, restricting immigration from the country

His major themes will include promoting trade with the U.S., good governance and the rule of law, while also urging African officials and business leaders to eschew Chinese investment.

But he will face considerable headwinds because of the Trump administration's lack of engagement with Africa, President Donald Trump's reported disparaging remarks about the continent and several new policies, including proposing budget cuts for African programs, expanding the president's travel ban to include nearly a quarter of the continent's population and potentially cutting back the U.S. military's presence.

'The West is winning', Pompeo tells China, Russia

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Pompeo Is Leading a Foreign-Policy Farce. The secretary of state says Trump wants to lead the global order he’s actually destroying. In attacking multilateralism, Pompeo claimed that the Trump administration’s mission is “ to reassert our sovereignty … and we want our friends to help us and

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a major speech outlining the Trump administration's Middle East policy on When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they Pompeo skipped many of the traditional points a US secretary of state often makes in Egypt

"The challenge that Pompeo's facing in Africa is explaining the contradictory messages coming from Washington," said Witney Schneidman, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Africa Growth Initiative. "It's the lack of attention that's been paid. It's the fact that (former national security adviser John) Bolton rolled out this Africa strategy 14 months ago, and since then, very little has been accomplished where many other nations have moved forward."

Pompeo's trip will mark the first by a Trump cabinet official there in 19 months, after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana and pledged the U.S. would facilitate $1 billion of private-sector deals in July 2018. Trump's previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson only visited once in his 13 months on the job, getting fired the day after returning from Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Chad and Nigeria.

Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo meeting, says felt more constructive U.S. approach

  Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo meeting, says felt more constructive U.S. approach Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo meeting, says felt more constructive U.S. approachThe two top diplomats met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday in an encounter that neither side has so far spoken about in detail.

“The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better In attacking multilateralism, Pompeo claimed that the Trump administration’s mission is “ to reassert Trump has threatened to invade Venezuela and to punish South Africa for its land-reform policies.

In his 2012 reelection bid , Pompeo defeated Democratic nominee Robert Tillman by a margin of 62 Pompeo at the expanded bilateral meeting between the United States and North Korean Following the summit he led the US party in further negotiations between the sides leading to the return of the

MORE: White House unveils new strategy for Africa to counter Russian and Chinese influence

Still, African officials are largely willing to look past that and eager for increased U.S. investment, especially as an alternative to Chinese financing, with its excessive amounts of credit, tied to steep interest rates and high risk of forfeiture.

That's a message that Pompeo, one of the administration's lead China hawks, has carried on nearly all his foreign trips, warning Southeast Asian countries of China's "debt-trap diplomacy" or Western European allies against using Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant that leads in 5G technology. Just last Saturday, he warned China is always "working you ... working the team around you" in a speech to U.S. governors.

But African leaders already know all that, according to Ahmadou Aly Mbaye, economics professor at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, who said that they want to hear what the U.S. will do to help them finance their economic growth and provide for their burgeoning populations instead.

"The needs for investment are huge, in particular, in terms of infrastructure investment," Mbaye said, but, "The existing routes the West and the U.S. are using have shown their limitations. The World Bank and Western international organizations provide very little to fill in these gaps. ... If you remove China, you have almost nothing left."

Pompeo Seeks to Assure African Partners as U.S. Weighs Troop Cuts

  Pompeo Seeks to Assure African Partners as U.S. Weighs Troop Cuts Secretary of State Michael Pompeo sought to reassure African allies that the U.S. is committed to fighting the spread of Islamist militancy even as the Trump administration weighs cutting troops stationed across the continent. © Photographer: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, holds a press conference with Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gedu Andargachew (not visible), at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa on February 18, 2020.

PM to meet leaders of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa in push to boost post-Brexit trade.

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Pompeo told reporters traveling with him on Thursday that he wants to talk to leaders in all three countries and at the African Union about encouraging economic reforms to increase market access, combat corruption and promote the rule of law -- all of which would bring more American investment, he said.

That will be a particularly important message in Ethiopia, as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed pushes to liberalize the economy by privatizing state monopolies, and in Angola, where President Joao Lourenco has tackled corruption and tried to shift the country off economic dependence on oil exports. Pompeo said the U.S. could also provide technical assistance to help spur these reforms.

To that end, Trump may host African leaders for a U.S.-Africa investment summit in Washington, co-hosted by South Africa, according to Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador in Pretoria and a close Trump friend.

MORE: Pentagon to decide soon on possible troop cut in West Africa

The administration also requested in its new FY 2021 budget $800 million for the Development Finance Corporation, a newly created government agency that provides financing for private development projects. That's more than double the $299 million Congress gave it in fiscal year 2020.

Trump's budget proposal also sought an additional $50 million for its Prosper Africa initiative to increase two- way trade, for a new total of $75 million. But overall, the budget proposal slashes assistance to Africa by 39%, or $3.23 billion, and funding for key health programs in Africa like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or PEPFAR, which would see a 26% cut.

Promising 'true liberation,' Pompeo contrasts U.S. role in Africa with China’s

  Promising 'true liberation,' Pompeo contrasts U.S. role in Africa with China’s Experts warn, however, that side-by-side comparisons with China are a losing game for the United States.The secretary’s thinly veiled barb toward China, by far Africa’s biggest trading partner for more than a decade, came as he pitched American-style capitalism and economic liberalization as the only way to move forward after “failed socialist experiments of years past” in numerous African countries. Pompeo touted investments by American companies such as Chevron, Coca-Cola and Citibank on the visit, which included stops in Senegal and Angola as well as Ethiopia.

The poverty in much of Africa is usually what strikes first -time visitors the most. You will see beggars and you may not know how to respond. Assume nothing is free: While hospitable and friendly folk are everywhere in Africa , be careful when you're in a touristy area and you're offered something for "free."

He is making the investments through a private equity firm, Virtua Partners . The tax break is largely benefiting the real estate industry — where Mr. Trump made his fortune and still has extensive business interests — and it is luring people with personal or professional connections to the president.

There is a similar contradiction in the administration's military posture across the continent. Senior officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy, have warned for months now about the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, the region situated between the Sahara desert and the savanna and stretching across the continent from Senegal and Mauritania to Sudan and Ethiopia.

With terrorist fighters and weapons flowing south from Libya, the Sahel has seen a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks -- with Nagy warning in November that the U.S. and European strategy to contain it was not working: "We need to have a much, much more robust engagement. There has to be much more robust coordination."

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But the Pentagon is currently reviewing whether to slash its troop presence in West Africa. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday no decision had been made about the U.S. counterterrorism mission there, but the Pentagon announced Wednesday that about one thousand service members would depart as part of a change in mission in East Africa, where a special Army unit to train local partner forces will replace members of an Army infantry division.

Even that scaling down "makes very little sense," according to Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow also with Brookings, who called it "an overly narrow fixation on pulling forces out of Africa and elsewhere in order to get them closer to Russia and China" and position them for "great power" competition, as Trump's national security strategy says.

Mbaye said any cuts to troop totals in the Sahel would be "very, very worrisome."

US says preparing to sign deal with Taliban on February 29 .
The United States is preparing to sign a deal with the Taliban on February 29, building on an agreement on reducing violence across Afghanistan, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday. "Upon a successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the US-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward," he said in a statement released after visiting Saudi Arabia.

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