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U.S. General holds talks with President Joyce Banda, hails Malawi Army


14:31, November 22, 2012

LILONGWE, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Commander of the United States African Command General Carter Ham who held talks with Malawi's president Joyce Banda in Lilongwe on Tuesday commended the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) in its efforts in bringing peace in Africa.

Malawi Defence Minister Ken Kandodo told local media in the capital, Lilongwe, on Tuesday that during the talks, the U.S. General had observed that Malawi's soldiers were doing a commendable job in peace keeping mission in Ivory Coast.

"As you are aware that at present Malawi sent 850 military officers to Ivory Coast to help in bringing about peace and security, General Ham commended Malawi's government for sacrificing its soldiers and he noted that they were displaying impeccable professionalism," Kandodo is quoted in a local daily, The Daily Times, on Wednesday.

The paper said the discussion between President Banda and General Ham dwelt on security matters between Malawi and the U.S. but that the ongoing issue of Malawi and Tanzania border dispute was also part of the agenda.

Ham told the local media that he had discussed the border dispute issue with the country's military and political leadership and that the U.S.'s position over the matter was that of neutrality while working to help resolving the matter.

"We have discussed this; our position is that the U.S. is friend to both governments and we do not want to be caught in the middle of this," said the U.S. Commander General.

"Both governments are democratic and this matter must be resolved peacefully and we hope we can play a part in finding an amicable solution," Ham said.

Ham also commended MDF for the role it played during the transition of power following the death of President Bingu Mutharika in April.

He also visited the country's military bases, held talks with MDF Commander General Henry Odillo and academicians among others.

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