26.05.2004 General News

International Peacekeeping seminar ends

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Accra, May 26, GNA - A five-day international peacekeeping and training seminar dubbed: 'RECAMP 4' being hosted by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre (KAIPTC) ended at Teshie, near Accra on Wednesday.

The French Government sponsored it in collaboration with the Ghana Government.

About 220 multinational participants including Diplomats, Senior Military Officers from about 40 countries and representatives of European Union, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and International Red Cross attended the seminar. RECAMP is the acronym for "Reinforcement of African Peacekeeping Capabilities," a French Security and Defence policy in Africa. Under the aegis of UN and in agreement with the African Union (AU), the RECAMP programme aims at helping African states to acquire military capabilities that would enable them to conduct peacekeeping operations across the African Continent.

It is the Francophone version of the American African Contingency Training Assistance (ACOTA) to Anglophone West African Countries. The seminar was a prelude to a major military exercise comprising the armies of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), other African countries, EU, Canada and other organizations that would take place from November 29, 2004 to December 11 2004 in Benin. Brigadier General Elhadji Kandji, Deputy Military Advisor of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said the seminar had provided the opportunity for a more focused picture on Africa's joint effort to reinforce its peacekeeping capability.

He said that the UN attached a lot of importance to the enhancement of African peacekeeping capacity, as it relied heavily on Africa's massive and valuable contributions toward the UN's peacekeeping capacity.

Brig-Gen Kandji noted that African regional peacekeeping operations were crucial in complementing the UN's role, particularly; in crisis where the UN was not in the position to deploy rapidly enough as was in the case of Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.

He said the UN stood ready to continue to work with other international donors and partners to help Africa further develop its peacekeeping capacity.

The UN had already identified a number of areas where it was ready to provide full support to the African Union, sub-regional organizations like ECOWAS and to individual African member states The ECOWAS Deputy Executive Secretary for Political Affairs, Defence and Security, General Diarra said that ECOWAS would take into account recommendations and suggestions made at the seminar for future interventions.

He said that the "RECAMP 4" was on the right track towards achieving the objectives of strengthening ECOWAS' capabilities in peacekeeping operations.

RECAMP was created in 1996. This year is the fourth cycle, and it has been dedicated to ECOWAS.

The Political/Military seminar was centred on two main objectives: the management of crisis and the strategies to stop them and the simulation of a fictitious operation, which would be used as a basis for the "Benin 2004" exercise.

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