A THREE-DAY Regional Security workshop on, ‘Peace operations and security challenges in West Africa’ opened in Accra yesterday, with a call on member countries to join forces and share information on how to deal with security-related issues.
Opening it, the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Ms. Melinda Tabler-Stone, said security was vital to national development and with the advent of technology and the sophisticated means of weapon handling, it was important that the regional body share ideas on how best to effectively deal with issues that posed security threat.
For many years, she said, the United States had been supporting peacekeeping missions in West Africa and was committed to working with their partners, including Ghana for years to come.
Ghana, she said, had been a major contributor to the United Nations operations with the supply of more than 3,000 police, military observers and troops throughout the region.
“Together, we are advancing peace and security by countering violent extremism, building national capacities in support of long-term security and combating terrorism through effective governance, development and rule of law”.
“Together, we are preventing transnational crime by assisting with border, maritime, aviation, cyber and financial security to counter illicit drug, arms, people and money trading,” she said.
Ms. Tabler-Stone said her outfit and other partners were working to prevent conflict and promote peace and security by ensuring that the UN peacekeeping and peace support were adequately resourced.
The workshop, she said, would reinforce this year’s Western Accord training that was conducted earlier this year and also serve as a key element to an ongoing series of military exercise.
She said the US had pledged an amount of $110 million every year for between three and five years, to African nations in order to build their capacities to rapidly deploy peacekeepers in response to dealing with conflicts.
The Senior Exercise Planner of the African Accord, Mr. William Pabon, said the objective of the workshop, was to develop an exercise to enhance relations on national issues and to strengthen the ability of African nations and regional organisation to provide their own security.
It is also to conduct exercises and assess the US Western allies, build capacity and capabilities and also conduct joint multinational peace support operation together with the UN, the African Union and ECOWAS.
He announced that Burkina Faso had been selected to host next year’s regional workshop in Ouagadougou.
By Francis Asamoah Ttuffour