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Sudan: UN Contributors Ready to Send Troops

Contributors Of Ready Troops For UN Operations Discuss Potential Sudan Mission

A potential United Nations mission in Sudan as well as support for other African peacekeeping efforts are among the issues being discussed during a two-day meeting of countries contributing troops to a stand-by arrangement for UN operations.

Brig. Gen. Gregory Mitchell of the Stand-by High Readiness Brigade for UN Operations (SHIRBRIG), told a press briefing in New York that the Brigade would form half of the 14 members of the military component recently authorized by the Security Council in a resolution on Sudan.

That group would provide military advice to the UN envoy and begin to create the environment for the follow-on peace support mission, based on the requirements of the two parties in their final ceasefire agreements, he said. When that occurred and a peace operation in the Sudan was established, SHIRBRIG had already been asked to form the nucleus of the force headquarters and the headquarters support elements for that mission.

Gen. Gunther Greindl, Chairman of the SHIRBRIG Steering Committee, said the Brigade was at a crucial juncture on building capacity in Africa because the continent had now developed its institutions to better manage crises there. He noted that the Africa Peace and Security Council had started work, the African Union was mandated to manage certain aspects, and regions were becoming active in peace operations.

In addition, the African chiefs of staff had now decided to establish five regional brigades, using the SHIRBRIG model as a way to shape their brigades in Africa, he added. The plan was expected to be endorsed next month by the leaders there, and if Africans agreed to use the Brigade as a model, it was willing to help, including by training officers.

SHIRBRIG was established in 1996 by Austria, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden, and has since added Finland, Italy, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Spain as participating members. Seven countries serve as observers: Chile, Hungary, Portugal, Senegal, Jordan, the Czech Republic and Croatia.

Each SHIRBRIG member country decides on a case-by-case basis whether it will take part in any given mission, which is mandated by the Security Council, and the Brigade comes under the operational control of the UN mission leadership once it is deployed. Potential operations include preventive deployments, surveillance of truce agreements, supervising the separation of forces, humanitarian assistance and other scenarios in which the opposing sides have entered into an agreement.

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