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10.02.2005 General News

Military Experts discuss ECOWAS Peacekeeping

By GhanaWeb Correspondent
Accra, Feb 10, GNA - Security Experts and Military Intelligentsia in Peace Keeping Operations on Thursday started a two-day workshop in Accra to develop an action plan aimed at strengthening future operations in the West African Sub-Region. The workshop under the theme: "Lessons from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Peacekeeping Operations: 1990 -2004" would document key lessons from the Sub-Region's peace operations; examine practical proposals; develop a strategic plan to improve the effectiveness of peacekeeping operations and map-up strategies in preventing and responding to crisis and conflict in West Africa.
About 50 Senior Military Officers, Security Experts and Intelligence Analysts, who have been closely involved in ECOWAS and UN peace operations in West Africa, are attending.
Brigadier General Charles Mankatah, Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), said a list of priority recommendations based on lessons learnt from ECOWAS peacekeeping operations in West Africa especially in Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone would be consolidated.
"We would develop a clear, credible and achievable action agenda, which would strengthen our future operations and enhance the prospects for peace in West Africa," Brig Gen Mankatah stated.
A special representative of the UN Secretary-General for West Africa, Mr Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said the West African peacekeeping operations experience over the period under review "was a problem of intervening too late and withdrawing too early, before the necessary stabilization and reconstruction efforts have taken effect.
"On the other hand, ECOWAS peacekeeping operations are not equipped and mandated to take on complex reconstruction projects. This is a key lesson that we ought to act upon: how to ensure that ECOWAS operations, with the support of international partners, do more in this sphere."
Mr Ould-Abdallah said key questions such as who were the main stakeholders? Who had the power and legitimacy to decide when and where to intervene? Where the logistical capacity could be found were of fundamental importance for the success or failure of any military intervention.
On how to achieve sustainable peace in Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau, the UN Secretary-General's Representative called for investment in post-conflict recovery to ensure that there was no relapse into violence. "Beyond peacekeeping, stronger and more democratic institutions and governments are essential. This is where the international community and development partners can and should do more," Mr Ould-Abdallah emphasised.
Topics to be discussed include: Harmonization of procurement of categories of military equipment. Development of a common and comprehensive conflict prevention policy; development of an effective Early Warning and Response System; Building of an Efficient Operations Centre and Reduction of Non-Essential Travel and Engagement of Top Mangers.


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