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AU stages joint exercises of its peacekeepers

Wednesday October 20 2010

By ARGAW ASHINE, NATION Correspondent

Africa’s top military officers and civilians gathered in Addis Ababa today to hold a joint military exercise called Amani Africa under the continent’s Standby Force programme.

The African Union, with a support of the European Union and Canada launched the non-combat military exercise to improve the continent’s capacity to respond to conflicts and to enhance peace-keeping operations.

The exercise will take 10 days. The Force is composed of five standby forces run by regional blocs.

The exercise is also attended by more than 200 senior military officers from across Africa and is observed by military chiefs from Nato, United Nations, United States and the European Union.

Senior military officers and civilian decision makers will practice how the central command post in Addis Ababa would respond to any possible conflict on the continent.

The exercise uses a scenario based on a fictitious country called Carana and makes no specific reference to any particular African country.

African Union Chief Jean Ping said during the official launching of the exercise that it is the dream of African people to take care of African peace keeping operations.

Mr Ping said that despite the high level influence and involvement of non-African actors in African peace keeping, the AU is now set to play a leading role in the continent’s peace keeping activities. The African Union and European Union launched the Amani Africa programme in November 2008 as part of the cooperation between the two continents in peace and security.