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Annan invites NATO support for anticipated African peacekeeping missions

8 March 2004 If the United Nations undertakes new peacekeeping operations in Africa and Haiti this year as expected, stronger support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would be "tremendously helpful," Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

During a meeting at UN Headquarters in New York with lawmakers from NATO member States, Mr. Annan said he welcomed the recent willingness of the alliance to "go global," citing its recent work in Afghanistan as an example.

The Secretary-General noted that a UN peacekeeping mission has just been approved for Cte d'Ivoire, and said "a surge" of new operations across Africa is likely in the year ahead.

"NATO might be employed in a 'peace enforcement' role, much as the European Union deployed 'Operation Artemis' in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as a bridging force before the deployment of a UN operation," Mr. Annan said.

He praised NATO's preparedness to send troops to Iraq if requested, and added that the UN and NATO would continue to discuss the world's collective security system as well as peacekeeping operations.

After the meeting, Mr. Annan headed to Canada to begin a two-day official tour with his wife, Nane. The Secretary-General will hold talks with Prime Minister Paul Martin and other senior government officials and will address the Canadian Parliament before returning to New York on Wednesday.

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