Ambassador Foote’s Remarks for Peacekeeping Materiel Donation Ceremony

10 a.m. Friday June 29th Parade Square, Arakan Barracks, Lusaka

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for gathering here at Arakan Barracks this morning.  On behalf of the United States of America, it is my pleasure to donate to the Zambia Defense Force (ZDF) materiel for employment in peacekeeping training and operations, which is valued at approximately two point two (2.2) million U.S. dollars (or more than 22 million kwacha).  A sample of the donated equipment is on display before you.  This materiel will be of great utility to ZDF personnel for training and deploying to peacekeeping operations.  I congratulate His Excellency President Edgar Lungu, Minister of Defense Chama, and Deputy Army Commander Major General Miti, for the nation’s ongoing participation in regional peacekeeping missions, including the United Nations Multi-Dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and the SADC Preventive Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

It is fitting that today’s ceremony should be held on the grounds of Arakan Barracks, which owes its name to a hard fought World War II campaign in which Zambian soldiers served in Burma.  Much as soldiers deploying to faraway lands then would have depended heavily on their issued equipment, Zambian peacekeepers today will no doubt appreciate and be well served by the wide range of materiel donated today by the American people.  The donated equipment includes all-weather shelters, uniforms, personal protective equipment, and medical supplies, to cite a few examples.  All told, one twenty-foot and six forty-foot shipping containers of materiel will well equip Zambian peacekeepers serving in remote locations, and enhance training at the Nanking Peace Mission Training Center.

United States support to Zambia for peacekeeping operations encompasses not only the materiel on display here today, but also infrastructure projects that enable peacekeeping training, such as the barracks and dining facility currently under construction at Nanking.  This project, valued at three hundred forty thousand U.S dollars, is part of a comprehensive training assistance package that complements the approximate one million U.S. dollar training program delivered this year for ZAMBATT 4, which builds on previous United States government-funded ZAMBATT training and equipping.  We should be reminded, however, that the total value of U.S. government-funded training, infrastructure, and equipment is small compared to the numerous civilian lives that will be safeguarded in CAR, or other peacekeeping mission areas in which Zambia steadfastly serves.

Peacekeeping operations – as some of you know from personal experience – can also exact a heavy price on the troop contributing nations themselves.  I would like to acknowledge the sacrifice made last year by warrant Officer 2nd Class CHIBYE, who perished while serving in MINUSCA, such that innocent civilians there may one day live in peace.

In closing, I wish to thank the Minister of Defense and all Zambia Defense Force officers present for your continued and growing partnership with the United States.  I believe our partnership contributes to a more secure and prosperous future for the people of the Central African Republic, or wherever Zambian peacekeepers may be called upon to deploy in the service of others throughout the region.