Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

1 July 2014

Malawi: MDF's Professionalism in Peace Missions Impresses U.S. Govt

Lilongwe — The U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Janine Jackson, Thursday hailed the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) for the professionalism they display in peace operations in the continent.

Jackson said this in Lilongwe at the opening of Peace Operations in Africa Workshop where security delegates from 12 countries across Africa, the U.S. and UK are meeting to address challenges peace opperations in Africa face.

"We are very proud of the MDF because MDF has a really important reputation and it is a leader in the region," said Jackson.

She added: "Malawi has stepped up to peace operations and we really admire their commitment to engaging in peace operations."

The ambassador said she was glad that MDF stepped up to go to DRC where she observed the Malawi soldiers were doing a great job.

"The DRC is a different mission," observed the Ambassador. "It's Intervention Brigade and it is different from peace keeping. It's a bit more robust in terms of operations and it requires different training, different skills, different strategy and different tactics."

She said the previous trainings that US and UK conducted with six MDF batallions had prepared the Malawi soldiers for the DRC type of opperation.

The Ambassador also disclosed that in the coming weeks, a battalion of Malawi peace keepers, trained jointly by the U.S, the UK and MDF would depart for the MONUSCO mission in the Eastern DRC to relieve the current battalion that is there as part of the Force Intervention Brigade comprised of Malawians, South Africans and Tanzanians.

Jackson further hailed the MDF for "upholding its well-deserved reputation for being an appolitical, civilian-led force, providing security for the May 20 election and the country without interfering in the outcome".

The Peace Operations in Africa workshop, which runs from 10 to 12 July, is organised by African Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and AFRICOM with Dorina Bekoe, ACSS's Associate Professor, Conflict Prevention, Mitigation, and Resolution, as lead organiser and the one who came up with the concept.

The participants at the workshop will tackle and find solutions to four challenges for peace oparations in Africa namely; robust peace operations; protection of civilians; transitioning from African-led missions to UN missions; and drawing down peace operations according to Ambassador Jackson.

In his remarks, MDF Commander, General Ignancio Maulana, described the workshop as a podium for the participating countries to share ideas and experiences which he observed would help hone their skills.

"This workshop will enhance professionalism of our officers and it will provide a unique opportunity to reflect on the past experiences and assess possible future developments in the field of peace support operations," said Maulana.

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