By Lorena Baires/Diálogo July 05, 2016 Thanks to the support of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the Salvadoran Armed Forces Peace Operations Center (CEOPAZ) opened three modern buildings within its training center for military personnel affiliated with peace keeping operations. The new facilities with allow CEOPAZ to expand training and drills for personnel joining peace operations, as well as provide storage for special equipment used by the different contingents deployed during international United Nations (U.N.) security missions which will strengthen the training process for the peacekeepers. “We appreciate this gesture of friendship and cooperation with the FAES in providing the resources necessary for broadening our capacities and for continuing to train the personnel joining worldwide peace and security missions with quality and professionalism,” said Colonel Manuel Acevedo, Commander of CEOPAZ, during June 7th opening ceremony of the buildings. Construction of the new buildings was made possible by an investment of $1.5 million donated by SOUTHCOM through the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). The GPOI is a security assistance program funded by the United States and designed to improve the international capacity to effectively conduct U.N. Peace Support Operations (PSOs). “It is an honor for the Southern Command to deliver these buildings to CEOPAZ, which has had an important role in developing world peace over the past few years,” Colonel Robert Wagner, U.S. military attaché, said during the ceremony. “CEOPAZ is now a world-class center for training new generations of peacekeeping forces.” The GPOI seeks to strengthen the capacity of the FAES to contribute to the U.N. and to highlight the expanded role in peacekeeping operations that El Salvador participates in throughout the world. The servicemen selected to conduct peacekeeping operations will be able to be trained for four months in these new buildings, where personnel will undergo psychological and physical evaluations, receive training on logistics strategies for peacekeeping missions, and take workshops on human rights, force protection and driving armored vehicles. Commissionedand non-commissioned officers, as well as enlisted personnel selected to becomea part of the U.N. Peacekeepers will now enjoy a new site where they will trainand learn specialized skills for international support and securityassignments. (Photo: Gloria Cañas) “This is an important moment in the process of expanding the capacity of CEOPAZ because it will be able to continue its contributions to world peace and train new generations from a modern, world-class space,” Col. Wagner said. CEOPAZ will now be able to receive more than 200 troops per year, although that number may vary based on the needs of each of the operations conducted annually. El Salvador’s minister of defense, General David Munguía Payés, confirmed the commitment of CEOPAZ to pay back the support it received from the international community when El Salvador sought to achieve peace. “The FAES is an entity that raises the dignity of our country’s name at the international level, and its personnel are recognized for their commitment to strengthening world peace,” the minister said on June 16 during the farewell ceremony for the seventh contingent to participate in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The FAES has contributed 175 servicemen — including commissioned and non-commissioned officers, as well as enlisted and administrative personnel — to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the MINUSTAH, and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Dependingon what needs arise for the peacekeeping contingents, the Peace Operations Center (CEOPAZ) of the Salvadoran Armed Forces (FAES) will receive an averageof 200 troops per year at the new facilities. (Photo: Gloria Cañas) In the UNIFIL mission, from June 2008 to the present, the Salvadorans have carried out 6,300 motorized patrol activities, as well as conducting vehicle checks, manning observation posts, and providing security for landing strips and medical care for the civilian Lebanese population at the “Miguel de Cervantes” base. The SALCON VII contingent deployed in MINUSTAH is composed of 44 military officials who have joined the Chile 24 Battalion in the Mechanized Infantry Company. From February 2013 to the present, they have carried out 670 patrol and security activities in the city of Cap-Haïtien to maintain a safe and stable environment. Finally, MINUSMA is composed of 90 Salvadoran military officials who, for the first time, are independently supporting a peacekeeping mission. Since April 2015, the group has conducted more than 4,100 assignments, including patrols, transport, aerial surveillance and reconnaissance, medical transport, and search, rescue and extraction missions.
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