- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota National Guard is celebrating a decade-long partnership with Ghana.

A state delegation led by Guard commander Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk and Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley recently visited senior government and military officials in the West African country. Another North Dakota delegation is scheduled to visit later this month.

The state Guard and Ghana have been participating since 2004 in the Defense Department-sponsored State Partnership Program aimed at fostering military, social and economic ties.

“This endeavor began 10 years ago as a military partnership and has spread to health care, business and economic partnerships,” Wrigley said during a ceremony in Ghana last week marking the anniversary. “Later this month, another delegation will visit from North Dakota that will bring experts in the fields of industry, trade, and agriculture.”

Sprynczynatyk said he expects the North Dakota-Ghana partnership to continue to flourish.

“Our values, especially patriotism, are very much the same,” he said during a meeting with Ghana Minister of Defense Mark Owen Woyongo.

The State Partnership Program began in 1993, with three Baltic nations. It has grown to include partnerships with 65 countries.

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