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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

ETHIOPIA: Peacekeeping troops for Burundi

ADDIS ABABA, 29 January 2003 (IRIN) - Ethiopia is expected to send a battalion of troops, or 800 men, to act as peacekeepers in war-torn Burundi, senior sources within the African Union told IRIN on Wednesday.

The move would be a temporary step until UN peacekeepers move in. However, there have been growing calls within the diplomatic community for Ethiopian troops to act as peacekeepers within the UN.

“Ethiopian troops ought to be used in regional peacekeeping operations, in peacekeeping operations in western Africa, and indeed in peacekeeping operations around the globe, operating under a UN framework,” said Myles Wickstead, the British ambassador to Ethiopia.

According to an AU spokesman, the troops would make up a pan-African force which would observe the Burundi ceasefire until the UN moves in.

“The African mission would prepare the groundwork and ensure a conducive atmosphere in readiness for the UN to provide peacekeepers," the spokesman said.

The move comes after a recent visit to Ethiopia by South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma who is leading the Burundi ceasefire process and who described the situation as “very urgent”.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict


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