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28.07.2004 General News

Armed Forces get new German Language and Mine Awareness centres

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Accra, July 28, GNA - The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on Wednesday became the recipient of a state-of-the-art German Language Centre and a Mine Awareness Centre, as well as two vehicles to further enhance their professionalism and make it more internationally accessible.

The German Language Centre is to aid the GAF train servicemen to acquire basic working knowledge of the German language before they proceed on courses in Germany, while the Mine Awareness Centre is to train personnel to actively support worldwide de-mining activities. The German government funded both facilities at the cost of 250,000 Euros. This forms part of the existing Military Training Assistance programme offered by Germany to Ghana.

Defence Minister Kwame Addo-Kufuor, who inaugurated the facilities at the Military Academy and Training Schools of the GAF at Teshie, near Accra, expressed gratitude to the German Government for the assistance offered the Institution.

He noted that language was an important tool in international relations; hence, the Ghanaian soldier on international mission was not only a peacekeeper but also an ambassador of his country and his knowing German language was an asset.

"Knowledge of language makes for the cross fertilization of ideas, principles and mutual understanding. As agents of peace and security, this may strengthen their capabilities to deal with explosive situations, and in the process, achieve the desired peace and tranquillity, where chaos and anarchy once thrived."

He said the GAF was now equipped to train personnel to be proficient in French and German languages, which was a welcome development.

Having the German language Centre was mooted two years ago and it was an additional facility to the existing French Language Centre. It would offer courses to soldiers and civilians who were interested in learning the German language.

Dr Addo-Kufuor said that in effect, Ghana now possessed a unique centre of excellence in peacekeeping operations at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre, with facilities to help personnel to learn German and French, as well as be proficient in Information Technology.

He said the thrust of GAF's efforts has been to produce knowledgeable professional soldiers as much as Ghana remained seriously committed to fulfil her peacekeeping obligations.

Dr Addo-Kufuor expressed the hope that cooperation between Ghana and Germany would increase in the coming years to further deepen the bonds of friendship between both countries.

Mr Peter Linder, the German Ambassador observed that the inauguration of both centres showed that there was fruitful Ghana-German military cooperation.

The German Language Centre would equip Ghanaian officers nominated for training in Germany with the adequate command of the language before they proceed to that country.

Mr Linder expressed the hope that the GAF would make the best out of the facilities.

More than 50 officers of the GAF have been trained in Germany but lacked the knowledge of the German language.