23.03.2005 General News

Peacekeeping Centre to go under Foreign Ministry

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Accra, March 23, GNA - Discussions are underway to move the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) from the Ministry of Defence to Foreign Affairs for better coordination of programmes. Major Marc Ascui, Course Director in charge of the Civil-Military Cooperation (CMIC) of the Centre, said this in Accra on Wednesday when he briefed 15 Journalists from ECOWAS countries attending a two-week training programme on: "Reporting ECOWAS".

Major Ascui said, however, that if the Centre were shifted to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, it might lose the advantage of accessing facilities of the Ghana Armed Forces.

"Any attempt of shifting the Centre to another Ministry requires some logistic and financial commitment, and I hope the discussions will take all that into consideration."

The Journalists from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea and Benin were led by Mr Andes Dieter, a representative of the International Institute for Journalism (IIJ) in Berlin, organizers of the seminar.

The German Embassy, which is sponsoring the seminar, the third in the series, contributed 1.8 million Euros as the initial capital toward the establishment of the KAIPTC, the first phase of which was completed in 2003.

Major Ascui said the Centre under its Elections Observation Programme had trained personnel to participate in next month's presidential elections in Togo. He expressed worry over the low support of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Governments to the Centre in the area of manpower.

He, therefore, called on Governments in the Sub-Region to be more committed to the ideals of the creation of the Centre to achieve its aim of peacekeeping by detailing personnel to the Centre to help man it. "I will like more West African staff to be sent to augment the staff here, which has become a main hindrance to our operations," he said,

"We want the Centre to become the lighthouse of Africa in peacekeeping operations," he said.

The idea of establishing such a Centre was first conceived by Ghana to train its military personnel, who played a major role in the United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was later developed into a Regional Centre of Excellence to train both military and civilian personnel in the Sub-Region.

Other donors like the British and the Netherlands came on board later to support in the establishment of the Centre, which has so far trained more than 1,380 individuals from 77 countries with 90 per cent of them coming from the Sub-Region.

Among courses studied at the Centre are Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), Negotiations, Elections Observation and Media in Peace Support Operations. 23 March 05

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