A total of 400 U.S. soldiers ended their two-week joint military training exercise on Tuesday in Accra, alongside 400 other troops from across 12 West African countries and Europe.
The exercise, which was held in Accra from July 16-30, was part of the 2018 edition of United Accord, a large scale multinational military exercise including a command post exercise, field training exercise, medical readiness training exercise and jungle warfare school.
It brought together troops from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states such as Liberia, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Niger. Partner nations were Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and US Forces. The training was aimed at fostering security cooperation while improving operational planning and mission command capabilities.
United Accord accordingly promotes regional relationships, increases capacity, trains U.S. and West African forces, and furthers cross training and interoperability.
It also provides soldiers the requisite skills to enable readiness in support of peacekeeping operations in West African region and the world at large.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the exercise on Tuesday, July 31, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Charge d’ Affairs of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana, Christopher Lamora, said, “Exercises like United Accord give us an opportunity to observe, appreciate, and most importantly learn from each participating nation’s unique knowledge, capabilities and capacity. And while these abilities are impressive on their own, they become even more impressive when we find ways to build on one another’s talents.”
U.S. Army Africa Command General and Exercise Co-Director, Brigadier General Eugene Leboeuf, in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the ceremony, explained the reasons for this accord and its impact on the military’s future, dispelling rumours that the U.S. was seeking to establish a military base in Ghana as it has been falsely propagated by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Despite the controversy surrounding the Defence Cooperation Agreement between Ghana Armed Forces and the U.S. Army, General Leboeuf was positive about the agreement, saying “in respect of the agreement, I am very, very pleased with this opportunity to further elevate our engagements with Ghana on a level similar to what we see in different countries throughout the world.”
Certificates of participation were awarded to each of the 800 troops who urged to respect the rights of civilians they will be assigned to protect.
Brigadier General Osabutey of the Ghana Armed Forces expressed the belief that the United Accord will have a positive impact on communication between the militaries of the participating countries.