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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal   Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Review of ACRI (Africa Crisis Response Initiative) Troops
Bamako, Mali, October 19, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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As prepared for delivery

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Bonjour, Forces Armees Maliennes!

Minister Sidibe, Minister Herfkens, Minister Sokona, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great pleasure to be with you this morning.

Three years ago, the United States proposed an African Crisis Response Initiative, to help increase the continentís capacity to end conflicts and conduct peacekeeping missions.

Mali was the first nation to say "yes" to our proposal. Since then, Malian troops -- including many of you -- have trained with American forces. You have drilled with regional partners. And you have taken part in humanitarian assistance missions.

Already, Malian forces have built a strong reputation as peacekeepers, serving with distinction in Liberia, the Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone.

We are proud to have worked with Mali, the Netherlands and other nations to make these missions possible. Mali benefits by gaining a better-trained, more professional Army -- and a new voice in world affairs. West Africa benefits from new possibilities to end conflicts and promote integration and economic growth. And all of us benefit when those who believe in the rule of law are strengthened in our common struggle against those who believe in no law at all.

Yesterday I visited Sierra Leone and had the honor of reviewing ECOMOG troops there. I saw the terrible aftermath of the fighting there. I heard about the losses that ECOMOG forces, including Malian troops, have suffered. And I met with civilians, many of them children, who had suffered unspeakable horror and loss. All of them were eager to look toward the future -- and deeply grateful to their neighbors who helped stop the fighting.

Mali, too, has known conflict and sorrow. But Malians have learned the value of reconciliation and practiced the habits of democracy. And each of you, while a trained warrior, can also be an ambassador for peace.

I thank you, on behalf of the United States and the international community, for your commitment and leadership in building peace. I congratulate you on what you have already achieved as an Army, and as a people. And I wish this battalion a successful deployment -- and my thoughts and prayers go with you.

[End of Document]
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