Photo: Members of the Amani Africa II Police component demonstrating riot control skills
African countries have been encouraged to continue to strengthen their inter-state cooperation to develop peace building capabilities in tackling the security challenges of the continent.
The cooperation envisaged should be the kind that ensures synergy just as the countries match forward in a peaceful, stable and prosperous continent.
These calls among others, were echoed by special guests at the Distinguished Visitors Day, (DVD) which marked the conclusion of the Amani Africa II Field Training Exercise, at the South African Army Combat Training Centre, Lohatla, in the Northern Cape Region, Republic of South Africa.
The exercise held between 19th October and 8th November, 2015, and featured more than six thousand military, police and civilian participants, that made up the three multidimensional components of the Africa Standby Force (ASF).
The exercise was designed to play a significant role in evaluating the operational readiness of the African Standby Force to respond swiftly to ensuing conflicts unhampered by much political and instrumental burdens as well as to enhance the police and civilian capacities of the ASF in planning and conducting peace support operations, as mandated by the African Union.
In her message during the occasion, the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who was represented by the Commissioner for Peace and Security Department, Ambassador Smail Chergui, described the exercise as a tremendous success.
She equally commended participants for their resilience in promoting peace, security and stability in Africa.
The AU Commission chairperson stressed that the continental body would continue to explore all avenues in ensuring that its citizens do not live with the fear of losing their dignity, well-being and lives, as a result of civil conflicts and strife within and among countries of the region, she added.
She also paid tributes to all the countries that participated in the exercise, through their respective Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs), by providing troops and equipment which ensured that the exercise was a huge success.
She was particularly, grateful to Angola, Algeria and Nigeria, for providing strategic airlift at very short notice. This she said, was a key component of testing the readiness of ASF and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Conflicts (ACIRC), in times of need for rapid deployment.
In his keynote address, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, remarked that the successful conduct of the Amani Africa II Exercise, was a clear evidence that Africa is moving forward and demonstrates the seriousness of the African leadership towards peace and security.
This he stated is a step towards the much talked about African solutions to African problems.
The African Union and its five regions are committed to silencing the guns by the year 2020 and are prepared to effectively intervene in times of need because of the duty to save sister countries and help them to achieve peace.
Mr. Zuma added that, a well trained and equipped ASF would serve as a credible response to humanitarian crises and its effectiveness would bring about ownership and self-reliance.
He assured the continuous cooperation of African countries with the United Nations and other international partners, which he described as critical in the quest for world peace.
He further maintained that, the African Standby Force was a homegrown solution to the many crises facing Africa and its continuous success lies squarely on the peoples and leaders of Africa.
The occasion was witnessed by very important leaders of Africa, including Ambassador Smail Chergui of the AU Commission, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the Minister of Defence of Zimbabwe Mr. Sydney Sekeramai, who represented the Zimbabwean president, Dr. Robert Mugabe and the Chief of Defence Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin.
Others are the Chief of Defence Staff of the Republic of South Africa and Minister of Defence of Mozambique who was the representative of the Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) who are the host region as well as representatives from the United Nations, European Union and other international organizations.
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