in Cotonou, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State discusses regional security challenges

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US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for West Africa Michael Gonzales completed a 72-hour stay in Cotonou on Tuesday. The opportunity to discuss the security challenges facing Benin as the country is shaken by terrorist groups in the north of the country, but also to talk about democracy, a few months before the legislative elections scheduled for January 2023.

With our correspondent in Cotonou, Jean-Luc Aplogan

The Beninese Minister of Foreign Affairs is one of the first personalities that the American diplomat met. There have sometimes been tensions between the two countries, the statements and positions of the Biden administration on Beninese democracy have not always pleased and have never remained without firm reactions. Last December, the Biden administration, via its aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Account, had decided to significantly reduce the envelope allocated to the financing of Beninese projects. And this because of the decline in Benin’s commitments to MCC eligibility criteria and democratic governance principles “. A post from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces that the two men spoke of democracy without saying in what terms.

Concerns »

Michael Gonzales met on Tuesday with the chairman of the party The Democrats, Eric Houndete. For the opponent, the diplomat was in a process of listening and collecting information. ” With regard to the forthcoming legislative elections, we have expressed concerns aimed at making the elections credible. May our country regain its identity as a country of democracy. He could not decide, he felt that in a democracy everyone has the chance to participate in an election “.

Support program

On the security front, things seem to be well advanced. “ As far as security is concerned, we have, for example, exercises and joint operations with the Beninese defense forces. says Michael Gonzales. The Under-Secretary also announced a three-year, $14 million support program for the Special Border Surveillance Unit.

► To read also: Benin: a policeman killed during an attack targeting a police station in the north of the country

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