The New Times (Kigali)

8 February 2013

Rwanda: Military Chief Reaffirms Commitment to Peacekeeping

The Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga, has said the government will continue contributing towards peacekeeping in the region and beyond.

The mission of ACOTA is to enhance the capacities and capabilities of its African Partner Countries, regional institutions, and the continent's peacekeeping resources as a whole so that they can plan for, train, deploy, and sustain sufficient quaKayonga made the remarks while addressing 35 senior officers representing over 3,500 peacekeeping officers from 25 African countries, under the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) during a one-day workshop in Kigali yesterday. The workshop was also attended by Dr Tim Rainy, the Director of ACOTA from USA in Washington. ACOTA is based in Washington.

The annual workshop aims at assessing achievements and failures of different peacekeeping missions.

"RDF has and will continue contribute to peace support operations at regional and global level. We, therefore, have to equip ourselves with necessary tools that allow us to significantly make a difference in mission areas," Kayonga said.

According to Rainy, Rwanda has a very good reputation in peacekeeping.

"ACOTA trains over 17 countries engaged in peacekeeping but Rwanda remains the best," he said, stressing that RDF's integration of women in the military is very important as far as peacekeeping is concerned, since women in conflict areas find it easier to open up to their fellow women about the troubles they faced.

Rwanda maintains peacekeepers - military and police - in different countries, including Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia and Haiti.

The Military and Defence spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, said the impact of ACOTA workshops has been positive as world peace is improving, thanks to the peacekeeping missions worldwide.

He added that such workshops increase the performance of the Rwandan army in peacekeeping mission.

The mission of ACOTA is to enhance the capacities and capabilities of its African Partner Countries, regional institutions, and the continent's peacekeeping resources as a whole so that they can plan for, train, deploy, and sustain sufficient quantities of professionally competent peacekeepers to meet conflict transformation requirements with minimal non-African assistance.

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