A two-week Ghana Armed Forces and United States (US) Army Africa’s multinational military exercise aimed at fostering security cooperation among participating countries ended in Accra yesterday.
Known as United Accord 2018, the exercise would help to provide the various military forces the skills required to enable readiness in support of peace keeping operations in the region.
It brought together 20 nations made up of 800 personnel from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOAWAS), partner nations, US forces, Europe and the United Nations to share knowledge, improve operational planning and mission command capabilities.
As part of the exercise, participants were taken through lectures and field work such as Command Post, Field Training, Live Exercises and Jungle Warfare Training taught and supervised by troops of the Ghanaian Armed Forces and their US counterparts.
The participating countries include, Ghana, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Liberia, The Gambia, Canada, Sierra Leone, Mali, Mauritania, US, Nigeria Germany, and the Netherlands, among others.
Brigadier General LeBOEUF, Co-Director, US Army Africa Command Exercise underscored the need for protecting human rights and rule of law in military operations.
He said regional cooperation was critical in maintaining trust among nations.
He said the exercise would strengthen security and stability and expose participants on how peace keeping operations are conducted in different environments.
In an interview with the Ghanaian Times, Brigadier General Solomon Tei-Mensah Osabutey, Chief of Army Staff and Exercise Co-Director, Ghana Armed Forces said that countries that never went on missions would be introduced to the activities of peace keepers.
Touching on human rights abuses during peace keeping missions, the senior military officer said the UN does not condone criminality and that those who misconduct themselves at missions were investigated and punished if found guilty.
In his closing remarks, Christopher Lamora, Charge D’Affaires at the US Embassy in Accra, said the exercise was not only critical for the exposure, skills and training of participants, but more importantly, the Accord demonstrates the importance of working together for a brighter future.
While acknowledging that interconnectedness was good for mutual benefit of member states, he said the world was faced with increasing threats that does not stop at national borders and therefore, requires coordinated regional and international response.
“We have to rely on one another and work together in our joint pursuit of lasting peace and security,” Mr Lamora told the participants.
He noted that the United Accord provides an opportunity to observe, appreciate, and learn from each participating nation’s unique knowledge, capabilities and capacities.
Mr Lamora said that the UN and ECOWAS have been leading the way in promoting interoperability and enhancing regional peace keeping operations that would bring security and hope to Africa’s troubled area to spur the needed development.
He said the relationships among military and civilian actors, governments, and regional and international actors- are creating a heightened appreciation for “our collective responsibility to promote global peace.”
The Charge D’Affaires said he was impressed that participants’ had learned from one another’s experiences, leadership, competence and professionalism
He thanked the government and the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre for their show of hospitality.