Rt Hon Mark Lancaster MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces of UK visited Eastern Africa from 6 to 13 April to witness the full spectrum of UK Defence activity across the region. During his tour he visited Rwanda, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
Mr Lancaster’s visit to Ethiopia focused on where the UK and Ethiopia work together on peacekeeping. From mission specific training to a large peacekeeping deployment, the minister has seen the breadth of the UK’s role in Africa. In Somalia, the minister saw the AU’s highest priority mission; in Kenya he visited the UK’s primary training facility in Africa; whilst in South Sudan he was able to meet members of the largest deployment of UN peacekeepers, and in Rwanda he saw further key aspects of the UK’s defence engagement.
The minister met members of Britain’s armed forces who are currently engaged across Africa with bilateral and multilateral partners, and are playing a critical role in addressing security and stability challenges to help achieve a safe and more prosperous Africa. He highlighted the role they are playing in underpinning the British government’s role as a member of the P5, the EU and the Commonwealth.
On the final leg of his trip, whilst in Ethiopia, the minister met General Samora Yonus, Chief of Staff of Ethiopian National Defence Force and discussed a wide range of topics of co-operation. The minister acknowledged Ethiopia’s continued commitment to AMISOM and its regional leadership, particularly in regards to South Sudan. Both sides agreed that they would continue to co-operate and, where appropriate, enhance bilateral defence ties.
Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces said:
I have much enjoyed my visit to East Africa and to Ethiopia. The visit has provided me with a welcome opportunity to reinforce the UK’s continued support to the Ethiopian National Defence Forces with training for peacekeeping support operations. I have been extremely proud to see the way Britain’s global influence is being exerted to support our partners in East Africa.
The minister also visited the Ethiopian Peace Support Training Centre and heard how Ethiopia prepares and manages its contribution to peace support operations.
Throughout the visit the Armed Forces Minister met with government ministers and higher officials to help deepen defence relationships, and discuss shared interests and regional challenges.
Assistant Press and Public Diplomacy Officer