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North Dakota National Guards to partner with Benin, Togo

The North Dakota National Guard is signing up a new African country in its State Partnership Program, the guards said today.

The Republic of Benin signed a partnership agreement with the guards Thursday, becoming the second African country to do so. The first is Ghana.

A third African country, Togo, is expected to sign an agreement Saturday.

“We truly look forward to this partnership with the country of Benin,” Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, the guards’ adjutant general, said in a statement. “Working together we can build a program that will strengthen our military organizations and our cultural understanding as well. Benin has a proud history and we look forward to being a part of your future.”

The partnership program, created 20 years ago support Eastern European countries after the end of the Cold War, is meant to foster close ties between the U.S. military and the militaries and civilian governments of other countries, according to the Pentagon. There are now nine African countries partnered with U.S. guard units, including Benin.

The North Dakota guards have been partners with Ghana’s military for 10 years, and Ghanaian soldiers have trained at the guards’ Camp Grafton near Devils Lake.