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    Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2624
    Release Date: 3 August 2000
    Africa Needs Well-trained, Well-equipped Peacekeepers to Meet Crises
    Facing Continent, Secretary-General Says

     NEW YORK, 2 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks today at the commissioning and sod-cutting of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Teshie, Ghana:

     My dear friends and your excellencies, it is an honour for me to be here at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College for the commissioning and sod-cutting of the headquarters of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

     The United Nations is deeply grateful to the Government of Ghana and its Armed Forces and Police for their four-decade-long commitment to United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world.  This commitment was vividly illustrated in the exhibition that the Minister referred to, "United Nations Peacekeeping:  A Half Century of Experience", which, as he indicated, I had the pleasure of opening with His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings, on the 7th of July.

     The record of service and achievement has laid the foundation for the commission of the International Peacekeeping Training Centre that we mark today.  The Ghana Armed Forces' remarkable knowledge base, expertise and experience must be placed at the disposal of as many national armed forces -- subregionally and continent-wide -- as possible.

     In this connection, I am pleased to note that the inaugural meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Defence and Security Commission, held in Accra on 19 July, designated the Ghana Centre as one of the two training establishments in the subregion for the now-permanent Economic Community of West African States' Monitoring Observer Group (ECOMOG) Standby Units for member countries in this region.

     Africa needs well-trained and well-equipped peacekeepers to meet the challenge of the crisis facing our continent.  Other governments are increasingly reluctant to solve our problems for us.  Instead, they have sought to explore ways to help Africans to improve their peacekeeping capacity.

     I believe this Centre can play an important role in facilitating such assistance.  I trust that representatives of donor countries here present will seize this opportunity to provide the necessary support so that Ghana's vast experience in peacekeeping is used to the benefit of Africa and, ultimately, to the cause of world peace.

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