General News of Sunday, 29 February 2004
Accra, Feb. 29, GNA- Lieutenant General Seth Obeng, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) was on Saturday awarded a meritorious Service Medal by the European Command of the United States Armed Forces for his outstanding leadership and assistance in the successful ECOWAS response to the recent Liberian crisis. Lt. Gen. Obeng, who was presented with the medal by Gen. Charles Wald, the Deputy Commander of the US European Command at a ceremony in Accra, would also be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the United States Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in July this year.
A citation signed by the US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld accompanied the award.
It read: "The President of the United States of America authorized by Executive Orders, 16 January 1969 has awarded the Meritorious Service Medal to Lieutenant General Seth K. Obeng, Ghanaian Army for exceptional meritorious achievement, while serving as the Chief of Defence Staff in Ghana.
" Lieutenant General Obeng's leadership, exceptional competence, professionalism and dedication to duty helped ensure peace and stability in Monrovia, which directly stemmed a humanitarian crisis and save human lives. His outstanding achievement brings great credit to the Ghanaian Army, Ghana and the International Military Community."
In an acceptance speech, Lt. Gen. Obeng expressed his appreciation to the US and its European Command for the honour done him and the GAF, saying, "Indeed, I am quite touched by the length to which the US authorities have gone to bring about today's event." He said: " I accept the honour in a spirit of our professional ethics, the co-operation nurtured for so many years which must be upheld to the benefit of our two Armed Forces."
Lt. Gen. Obeng dedicated his award to the Commander-in-Chief of the GAF, President John Agyekum Kufuor, Defence Minister Kwame Addo-Kufuor, the Armed Forces and his wife and family.
Gen. Wald said the award echoed the existing cordial relations between both Armed Forces and reiterated the US's commitment to strengthen the existing relations between both countries.
He said the Lt. Gen. Obeng's leadership was exemplary and that the exceptional way he handled the Liberian crisis was considered a model, an approach that the US was trying to adopt to solve the Haitian crisis. Lt. Gen. Obeng is currently the Chairman of the ECOWAS Defence and Security Commission, which brings together the entire Chief's of Defence Staff of all ECOWAS countries.
His leadership and professionalism assisted ECOWAS to further develop its peacekeeping capacities to handle the Cote d"Ivoire and Liberian Crisis.
Gen. Wald expressed the hope that other regional bodies would emulate the model used by ECOWAS to solve the crisis in Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mary Carlin Yates said the honour done the CDS was yet another symbol of the robust US-Ghana relations which had been strengthened over the past year.
She said that Lt Gen. Obeng was an outstanding leader in Ghana and throughout West Africa as well as a "good friend" of the United States and that the fact that Lt. Gen. Obeng is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College was a matter of pride to many Americans as he has since represented that college, the US Army and the GAF with distinction.
Ambassador Yates said the US looked forward to a continued friendship with Ghana's Armed Forces and Lt. Gen. Obeng in future. General Wald arrived in the country on Saturday from his European Command based in Germany to present the award. He also visited the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Centre, at Teshie near Accra to acquaint himself with its operations.