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14.04.2005 General News

Germany committed to peace in West Africa

By GNA

Accra, April 14, GNA - Germany is committed to continue its cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to bring peace to the sub-region, the German Ambassador in Ghana, Dr Peter Linder said on Thursday.

Speaking at the opening of an election observation course at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre in Accra, he noted that election observation was an important part of the last phase before conflict countries could return to normal, transparent and democratic life to the benefit of their people.

"Actual events in Ghana's neighbouring countries show the need for an integrated sub-regional or continental approach in this respect," the Ambassador said.

Dr Linder repeated German Chancellor Gerhard Schr=F6der's statement at the opening of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre that the common goal was to develop Africa's own capacities in the spheres of the military, the police and civilian peacekeeping personnel.

Germany and its partners in the European Union and G8 are aware of the need for training of election observers.

"Anyone who wants to ensure lasting peace must integrate his activities into regional structures, because stability and security almost always affect entire regions beyond national borders," Chancellor Schr=F6der said.

Dr Linder noted that this was the third seminar in a series on election observation, which his government was sponsoring in close cooperation with the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre and the ECOWAS Secretariat.

He said it was a policy of Germany towards Africa to be actively involved in issues like the future role of ECOWAS and ECOWAS personnel in election observation.

He said Germany's view was that in far too many African countries conflicts, violence and instability were the key obstacles to the sustainable development, which was so urgently needed. "Without peace, the people of Africa have no hope of sharing in the fruits of globalisation. It is essential that Africans themselves have recognized this connection."

Dr Linder said the German government had made it clear that Africa and its regional organizations still needed the support of the international community in order to fulfil the peacekeeping related tasks of which election observation was a key factor.

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