Remarks by Michael Raynor, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia
Justified Accord 19 Opening Ceremony
Peace Support Training Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
(As prepared for delivery)
Ato Fisseha Woldesenbet, State Minister for Ethiopian Minister of Defense;
Major General Roger Cloutier, U.S. Army Africa commanding general;
Major General Yimer Ali, Ethiopian National Defense Force Representative;
Brigadier General Habtamu Tilahun, Commander of the Ethiopian National Defense Force Peacekeeping Center and exercise co-director;
Brigadier General Lapthe Flora, U.S. Army Africa deputy commanding general and exercise co-director;
Distinguished military participants;
Ladies and gentlemen;
I'm very pleased and honored to join you for this ceremony marking the beginning of Exercise Justified Accord 2019.
Please let me start by extending my sincere condolences on the June 22 attacks that took place in Bahir Dar and Addis Ababa. These were indefensible acts of violence, which not only targeted the individual victims, some of whom I had the chance to work with very closely, but which also targeted the important Ethiopian institutions they served, and the best interests of all Ethiopians. In the aftermath of those attacks, the United States has been deeply impressed by the cohesion, professionalism, and sense of duty displayed by the members of the Ethiopian National Defense Force.
And we're enormously grateful for Ethiopia's steadfast commitment to hosting and participating in this exercise. More generally, I extend my deepest gratitude to the Ethiopian government and Ethiopian National Defense Force for your deep and enduring commitment to international cooperation in the name of shared security. Enormous thanks also to the U.S. delegation, for the months of planning and hard work you've put in to make this month-long exercise happen.
And a very warm welcome and sincere gratitude to the attending militaries from the nations of Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Djibouti, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and the United Kingdom, as well as the representatives of the international organizations participating in this exercise. The success of Justified Accord will be a direct result of your commitment and dedication, and the importance you give to regional collaboration.
Events like this exercise have positive global impact. They support the United Nations and African Union as they carry out their mandates to support security in the region. And they bring us closer to our common goal: a more peaceful and prosperous Africa and world.
Ethiopia plays an essential role in regional security. It's the world's largest contributor to global peacekeeping forces, and an essential partner in security cooperation efforts in the Horn of Africa, and beyond. Ethiopia's commitment to promoting peace is a testament to its dedication to the principle that professional, responsible, and constructive peacekeeping and military activities can lead to a more stable, prosperous, and politically inclusive region. This makes Ethiopia a very fitting host for an exercise like Justified Accord.
For more than 20 years, the Justified Accord joint exercise has brought together East African nations, the United States, partner nations, and international organizations to strengthen relationships, increase military and inter-governmental capacity, and enhance peacekeeping capabilities.
Through open dialogue, scenario training, and multiple collaboration exercises, Justified Accord provides a terrific opportunity for our respective civilian and military teams to hone the many different skills needed to support regional peace, enable the readiness of international partners for peace operations, and improve interoperability of multinational security forces.
It also builds strong bonds of camaraderie between our militaries, and with civilian partners.
Ethiopia first served as the host in 2017 for a smaller scale tabletop exercise. This year, the exercise has significantly expanded in scope.
As we speak, the Medical Readiness component of Justified Accord has begun. This exercise will train U.S. military medical professionals alongside Ethiopian military and civilian medical personnel to obtain real-world experience while providing valuable medical services to Ethiopian communities. At the end of this medical exercise, our forces will have gained valuable experience in emergency medicine, surgical skills, joint operational planning and leadership, and on-the-ground tactical coordination to achieve a common objective.
Today also marks the official start of the command headquarters portion of the Justified Accord exercise, here at the Peace and Support Training Center. The exercise simulates a multinational peacekeeping military headquarters, and includes numerous partners from Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
Simultaneously, and with direction from the command headquarters, both U.S. and Ethiopian troops will train together in the field exercise portion of Justified Accord, which will take place at the Ethiopian National Defense Force's Hurso training center near Dire Dawa.
The United States and our allies are fully committed to partnership with Ethiopia, the region, and the African continent to promote a peaceful, prosperous, and secure future for all our peoples.
Your participation and your support for this exercise are essential to ensuring that future.
Thank you again for being here today, and for your participation in Justified Accord 2019.
I wish you a very beneficial and enjoyable exercise.