Ethiopia to lead UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan
Addis Ababa, 4 June 2014 (WIC) - Ethiopian troops have once again been given a leading role in a United Nation Peace Keeping mission to be deployed in neighboring South Sudan ahead of next week.
The UN Security Council has approved the deployment of three battalions of East African peacekeeping forces to try to prevent further fighting between South Sudan government forces and forces loyal to the former Vice President Riek Machar.
The UNSC announced earlier on Tuesday that the 2,500 troops from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda should begin deploying to the world's newest nation within a week.
According to Getachew Reda, in the coming few day the issue of verification process will be finalized by the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member countries followed by the deployment of the East African battalion for the first time since the war erupted in December that left tens of thousands dead and over hundreds of thousand displaced.
He also said that the battalion would be led by an Ethiopian General.
Getachew further indicated that the peacekeeping mission is aimed at enforcing the May 9 truce signed by President Salva Kiir and his rival ex-Vice President Riek Machar here in Addis Ababa after a longstanding mediation process led by PM Hailemariam Desalegn.
Officially, the soldiers are to protect teams of monitors from the region whose mission is to verify reports of violations of a temporary cease-fire.
The East African troops will be part of the existing UN mission in South Sudan, whose mandate was tweaked by the Security Council this week to focus on civilian protection by some 12,000 soldiers and police rather than the original purpose of state-building. (allafrica.com)
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