CAIRO, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- The 23rd Annual General Meeting of the International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centers (IAPTC) opens here on Monday, Egyptian foreign ministry said.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry inaugurated the conference, which gathered 300 international senior officials, representatives of international and regional organizations, and major peacekeeping training and research centers, according to the ministry's statement.
The ministry's spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that the conference is the largest annual international gathering of peacekeeping training centers, adding that this is the first time it is held in a Middle East country and for the first time since 2008 in an African country.
"Hosting the conference is considered a continuation of Egypt's important role in peacekeeping, being the third largest world-ranking country participating with military experts, and the fifth with police forces," he said.
Abu Zeid added that Egypt is also the seventh largest troop contributing country, highlighting the important role it plays in the development of peacekeeping doctrine, concepts and policies in its capacity as a member of both the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, besides its role within the United Nations General Assembly Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations.
This year's conference will be held under the theme: "Integrated peacekeeping training for complex environments," in light of the major changes in the field of peacekeeping, as a result of the rapid change in the nature of conflicts and the development of threats and challenges to international peace and security, which is of great importance to both Africa and the Arab world, where most UN peacekeeping operations are deployed.
The IAPTC is a voluntary association, founded in 1995 for all centers and institutions dealing with peace operations research and training. It promotes better understanding of peacekeeping and of the methods used in training for peace operations of all types, whether military, police or civilian, to carry out their tasks in practice.
The IAPTC also provides a forum for discussion, sharing best experiences and lessons learned, and coordinating training programs among the various peacekeeping actors.
The conference is jointly organized by the Egyptian Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Interior ministries, in addition to a number of other ministries and bodies.