Leaders Meet with African Nations to Discuss Security, Safety
By Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Brown, USN
Special to American Forces Press Service
NAPLES, Italy, Mar. 20, 2006 The Africa Center for Strategic Studies, U.S. European Command and U.S. Naval Forces Europe jointly are hosting a workshop titled "Maritime Safety and Security in the Gulf of Guinea" in Accra, Ghana, March 19-22.
The workshop includes participants from 11 African nations and senior representatives from several regional and international organizations, U.S. government representatives and observers from six European nations.
"This workshop is designed to bring together leaders from the region and experts in the field of maritime safety and security to share information and exchange ideas," Navy Adm. Harry Ulrich, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe, said. "More importantly, this will give us the opportunity to build effective peer networking among the African professionals and strengthen our emerging partnerships with those nations."
Ulrich explained that there is an urgent need to address maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. "This is a regional problem and requires a regional solution," Ulrich said. "These nations need to protect their natural resources and provide for safety and security to their coastlines."
The workshop is conducted in English, French and Portuguese, some of the working languages of the Gulf of Guinea nations. Participant countries include Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo.
The meeting sets the groundwork for a fall 2006 ministerial-level symposium, which will seek to define and develop a collaborative regional strategy for sustained maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea, officials said.
(Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Brown is assigned to the U.S. 6th Fleet.)