Remarks for Ambassador Peter Vrooman
Closing Ceremony of Shared Accord 19
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
LTG Balla Keita (MINUSCA CJTF),
BG John Baptist (RDF),
BG Lapthe Chau Flora,
BG Eli Hadji Babacar Faye (UN DPKO),
BG Robert Kabage (AU),
Good morning. I am honored to join you today as we close Shared Accord 19 and recognize the successes that we have shared in one of the largest multilateral peacekeeping exercises held on the continent.
First, I want to thank the government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Defence Force for hosting this exercise for the second year in a row, and for allowing it to grow in size and scope – from a table top planning exercise to a full-fledged field exercise. Your country plays an essential role in regional security as one of the world’s largest troop and police contributors. By adding the field training exercise, the engineering construction projects, and the Role 2 medical rehearsals this year, we increased the value of the entire exercise for all participations and we also enhanced Rwanda’s ability to support UN peacekeeping missions.
My friend, BG Flora highlighted some of the achievements, including the construction of a model UN Forward Operating Base that will contribute to more effective training of future generations of Rwandan peacekeepers. And the 120 surgeries performed during the Medical Exercise has already had an immediate impact on civilians – fully in keeping with the spirit of the Kigali Peacekeeping Principles!
I want to make special note to the integration of the Rwanda National Police into the exercises this year. Police play a pivotal role in peacekeeping with a focus on interdicting human trafficking, terrorism, and sexual violence. The robust presence of Rwanda National Police at all levels of this training made a major impact. It mirrors the current construction of peacekeeping missions and ensures fullest involvement of Rwandan police in future, real-world missions. I extend my gratitude to the people and government of Rwanda for your enduring commitment to international cooperation in the name of shared security.
Thank you, as well, to the United Nations, the African Union, and International Committee of the Red Cross for your participation. By sharing your expertise, you enhanced our training objectives and advanced your humanitarian mission. I also look forward to hearing the observations of the actual MINUSCA HQ CJTF Commander who will “ground truth” and comment on how the Shared Accord simulations track with the situation in the field.
And thank you to the U.S. delegation (and my own Defense Attaché team and Office of Defense Cooperation), for the months of planning and hard work throughout the exercise to ensure the training was safe and effective for all involved.
And a final thank you to the more than two dozen partner countries and international organizations that participated in Shared Accord 19. The success of this exercise relies on your commitment and dedication to regional collaboration.
The United States and our allies are fully committed to partnership with Rwanda and the African continent to promote a more 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.
Congratulations on a job well done.