U.S. to support African countries in peacekeeping operations: FM

U.S. to support African countries in peacekeeping operations: FM

ACCRA, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States government is to offer financial support to Ghana and five other African countries in peacekeeping duties, Ghana's Minister for Foreign Affairs Hannah Serwa Tetteh said Thursday.

Addressing a packed press conference in the national capital, Tetteh disclosed that the U.S., in partnership with African governments, had decided to provide six countries on the continent with 110 million U.S. dollars annually for three to five years under the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership.

The other countries are Senegal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The rationale behind the support, the Ghanaian Foreign Affairs Minister noted, was to help have a rapid response to emerging conflicts on the continent.

She said "the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnerships, which is a new investment of 110 million dollars a year for three to five years, is to build the capacity of African militaries to rapidly deploy peacekeepers in support to emerging conflicts."

Tetteh noted that the initiative was "going to help us to develop a rapid response capability program, help us to create a dedicated rapid response battalion that will be in a position to be deployed to areas of conflict and will indeed strengthen our ability to participate in peacekeeping operations."

The U.S. has become more involved in supporting African military efforts to combat Islamic extremists recently, training over a quarter-million African police and military.

During the U.S-Africa Leaders' Summit in Washington last week, President Barak Obama unveiled plans to invest 110 million dollars annually over the next three to five years to help six African countries create rapid-response forces.

The support is expected to boost African Union and U.N. operations in crisis spots around the continent, using peacekeepers from Ethiopia, Uganda, Senegal, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana.