Accra, March 17, GNA- The U.S Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Virginia Palmer, has described Ghana as an exporter of peace and a leader in the African Region.
She commended the country for being a top contributor of uniformed peacekeepers to UN peace operations.
Madam Palmer was speaking at the U.S. Special Operations Command – Africa Exercise Flintlock 2023 closing ceremony jointly held in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in Accra.
Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual special operations exercise, which aims to strengthen key partner nation forces throughout Africa alongside the U.S. and international special operations force communities to counter violent extremist organisations collaborating across borders.
The two-week field training exercise is now a multinational exercise comprised of 30 African and international partners, operating across five sites, spanning two countries (Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire) and conducting command post exercises, field training exercises, and now, for the first time, maritime training exercises with 1400 participants.
The exercise kicked off on March 1, 2023, with a week of academic training before transitioning to the command posts and tactical training exercises on March 7.
The training ended with a capstone on March 14, 2023.
The Ambassador said Ghana’s steadfast commitment to peace and regional security was demonstrated by deploying nearly 2,800 military and police peacekeepers to eight UN peacekeeping operations on the continent.
« I am proud of the security cooperation partnership the United States enjoys with Ghana and our longstanding partnership is based on shared democratic values and a shared history, » she stated.
The Ambassador said through the Flintlock exercise, the United States government had demonstrated the strength of its relationship with Ghana.
She said they had focused on supporting Ghana as a leader in West Africa, working together on regional security, investing in people through long-term development relationship, protecting democratic institutions, and advancing mutual prosperity.
Madam Palmer said in the past two weeks, the Ghana Armed Forces had also demonstrated that in addition to its robust peacekeeping efforts, it was a capable leader in highly specialised operational command and control.
« This is one of many reasons the United States is committed to supporting the Ghana Armed Forces through training and technical support, » she added.
The Ambassador said this year, the U.S government would exceed $48million dollars in security cooperation support to Ghana.
She said Ghana’s commitment to freedom of assembly, religious tolerance, and respect for human rights was foundational to its status as a successful democracy.
« We know that building a strong, inclusive economy is also one of the best ways to support the stability in, which democracies flourish, » she said.
Madam Palmer said through multi-year implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, the U.S. Government would work across Coastal West Africa to promote inclusive economic growth and accountable governance to prevent conflict.
The Ambassador said they were implementing programmes in Ghana that would support local communities as they sought to provide economic opportunities to vulnerable populations.
The programmes would also strengthen the military-to-military relationship, and bolster the capacity of the Ghanaian security services to ensure that Ghana remained resilient in the face of an increasing threat from violent extremist organisations.
Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said cooperation and partnership in the fight against terror and violent extremism had generated not just interest, but also enthusiasm among the participants.
He said: “The skills developed in Flintlock exercise, particularly the skill of planning and conducting joint, multinational operations are of vital importance for ensuring peace in the sub-region at this critical time.”
Vice Admiral Amoama said the « recent activities of these terrorist groups in the West African sub-region reflect how these groups operate across border, therefore, highlighting the importance of joint security exercise such as Flintlock, which is designed to neutralise these threats”.