Maj. Gen. Stephen Neary, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, spoke by video teleconference Sept. 16 with Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Brig. Gen. Peter Omola, the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre (URDCC) commandant, and his soldiers during a virtual ceremony marking the conclusion of Uganda’s participation in the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP).
During the 6-year APRRP program in Uganda, the UPDF enhanced its capabilities and demonstrated its ongoing commitment to African Union and United Nations peace operations. The UPDF met the APPRP program objectives by demonstrating its ability to rapidly plan and execute a deployment of peacekeepers in support of peace operations throughout the region.
Maj. Gen. Neary thanked Brig. Gen. Omola for Uganda’s contributions to regional security, and its longstanding partnership with the U.S. Marines, which has fostered growth between the two countries.
“What we have been doing together doesn’t happen by accident and the relationships we’ve built over the years have been critical,” Neary said. “The UPDF have done more than their fair share to keep peace in the region and for that I personally thank you and your families for your commitment and sacrifice for peace. We have reached a new chapter during this transition, but we will be looking for opportunities with common objectives in the future.”
Uganda and the U.S. have worked previously to enhance security through Theater Security Cooperation missions with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response-Africa, and both countries share a commitment to supporting peacekeeping operations in the region. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa have been the primary trainers assisting with the APRRP program in Uganda providing training on command, control, communication and information systems, engineering, and logistics.
The two leaders thanked each other and affirmed the importance of the mutually beneficial U.S.-Uganda partnership and the continuing mission in Uganda as cooperative efforts with the URDCC transition to the Global Peace Operations Initiative team.