A four-day workshop this week in Ghana, co-hosted by the U.S. military and the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, is devoted to studying ways to combat lawlessness in the Gulf of Guinea and along its coast.

Officials from 11 African nations, the U.S. European Command, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and others are hoping to lay the groundwork for future agreements to combat piracy, drug and weapon smuggling, oil theft, illegal fishing and other problems in the region.

“This will give us the opportunity to build effective peer networking among the African professionals, and strengthen our emerging partnerships with those nations,” Adm. Harry Ulrich, the NAVEUR commander, said in a news release.

The Gulf of Guinea is along Africa’s west coast.

U.S. Navy Lt. Chris Servello said it is hoped the workshop, at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, would set the stage for a summit of nations, and perhaps security agreements between them, sometime later this year.

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