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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Namibia: Peacekeeping troops offered for UN Liberia mission

JOHANNESBURG, 11 August 2003 (IRIN) - The Namibian government has "indicated its willingness" to provide two battalions of troops to a UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia, but no date has yet been set for their deployment, a defence ministry spokeswoman told IRIN on Monday.

Major Monica Sheya said: "The government has indicated its willingness [to provide peacekeepers] but as to when [they are to be deployed] and how, those are technicalities the government is still dealing with."

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Veiccoh Nghiwete, told The Namibian newspaper that the finer details were to be determined by the United Nations.

"It is entirely in their hands. If they accept [Namibia's offer] that's fine. If they don't, that's another matter," he was quoted as saying.

The Associated Press on Friday reported Namibia's ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Andjaba, as saying that about 1,600 soldiers had been offered because "we were concerned about either the unwillingness or inability of the international community to deploy troops to Liberia to bring about peace and stability."

"Our two battalions are ready at any time," he added.

The UN Security Council has ordered UN peacekeepers to replace a planned 3,250-strong West African multinational force that has begun deploying to Liberia.

UN Special Envoy to Liberia Jacques Paul Klein last week called for a robust blue helmet force of between 12,000 and 15,000 troops to help stabilise the country.

President Charles Taylor is due to step down on Monday as part of moves to end more than a decade of civil war, handing over power to his vice-president, Moses Blah.

The government is confronted by two rebel groups: Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, who have fought their way to the port area of the capital Monrovia, and the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, who hold the country's second city of Buchanan.

 

Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict

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