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UN: More peacekeepers are needed in Africa

UN official says more peacekeepers are needed in Africa

The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has issued an appeal to Member States to expedite the deployment of troops they have offered for the United Nations Mission and to be prepared to provide troops for anticipated future operations in various other parts of Africa.

During a meeting yesterday in New York for troop contributors, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, said he expected that peacekeepers might be required in Côte d'Ivoire, Sudan and Burundi, in the event that the Security Council decides to establish peacekeeping operations to support the peace processes in those countries.

"It is important that I highlight these possible future calls that the UN may be making on Member States," he said. "We may need substantial numbers of military personnel who will be required to be logistically self-sustained and possess the necessary equipment to ensure a robust and force-protected posture in the conduct of their operations."

There are growing signs that the long-running civil conflict in Sudan is coming to an end, the Under-Secretary-General said, with a power-sharing agreement likely by the end of the month. A team from DPKO is in Sudan to review a draft plan for a future UN mission.

In Burundi, the transitional government and the largest armed group signed a ceasefire last month after a decade of civil conflict. The African Union deployed its own peacekeeping mission to the country earlier this year.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council last month that he would soon send an assessment team to Côte d'Ivoire to prepare recommendations on how the current UN mission, which comprises 38 military liaison officers, can be reinforced.

Mr. Guéhenno also said the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) needed specialized units to tackle specific challenges, citing the example of a lack of an engineering brigade in one of the Mission's four sectors.

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