France restates commitment to training African forces

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- France Thursday restated its commitment in pushing forward an initiative it launched to equip African states with military capabilities necessary for conducting peacekeeping operations across the continent.
The initiative, "Reinforcement des Capacites Africaines de Maintien de Paix," or Recamp, is also designed to spruce up African forces in dealing with calamities on a global level.
"We are committed to the Recamp concept," the French Ambassador to Tanzania, Jean-Francois Lionnet, told reporters.
He said his country was pleased to see the concept-gathering pace and would hopefully involve the whole continent as more countries are enlisted.
"The goal is to involve as many African forces as possible," a senior French military officer, Rear-Admiral Raymond Masson, echoed.
Speaking at the end of a working group assembled to plan a multinational peace keeping exercise in Tanzania under Recamp, he could not rule out projects of this nature in future.
"We know there is going to be more Recamps but at this point of time we do not know where," Masson added.
The working group was the last preparation stage of the massive exercise, which will take place in Dar es Salaam and Tanga in February 2002, with representatives from more than 25 countries, either participating or supporting the exercise.
The exercise, named after Tanzanite, a rare precious stone found only in the country, shall involve a fictitious military scenario drawing forces from France and nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) plus Kenya and Madagascar.
France, supported by a group of several other countries, has promised to equip the battalion-size force, which shall be trained in re-establishing peace, protection of local populations and the facilitation of humanitarian missions during a real regional crisis.
France and the Netherlands will also provide warships and military aircraft during the exercise.
The exercise follows Guidimakaha 1998, played out in West Africa and Gabon 2000, which involved the Central African countries.
Under the aegis of the UN and in agreement with the OAU, the Recamp programme aims at helping African states to acquire military capabilities enabling them - if they so do wish - to conduct peace keeping operations across the African continent.
In an atmosphere of mutual trust, the programme also contributes to developing and strengthening the security role played by African sub-regional organisations.

21 september 2001 20:35:00




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