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General News of Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Source: GNA

ECOWAS military officers conclude plans for June exercise

Accra, Feb. 18, GNA - Some 45 officers involved in the planning for the June 2009 military manoeuvre to test the logistic component of the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) have concluded an initial planning conference in Ouagadougou. Some 1,270 military personnel from 10 member states would be involved in the week-long exercise in Burkina Faso, the first Field Training Exercise organized for the 6,500-strong force with the approval of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff.

A statement issued by the ECOWAS Secretariat and copied to the GNA in Accra on Wednesday said the 11-13 February, 2009 meeting, the first of three such sessions prior to the manoeuvre, was attended by officers from member states, the Task Force Headquarters of the ESF, the ECOWAS Mission Planning and Management Cell as well as the African and European Unions. It said military officers representing France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Standby High Readiness Brigade of the United Nations attended the conference.

General Hassan Lai, Commander of the task force headquarters of the ESF, said the military exercise would enable the force to evaluate the status and capability of the pledged logistics of the Standby Force. The sub-units earmarked for the exercise include Engineers, Signals, Combat Service Support, Medical Services and Transport.