Germany offers 75 soldiers to UN force in Sudan
13 April 2005, BERLIN - The German government on Wednesday offered 75 soldiers, to serve mainly as military observers, for a UN peace force in war-torn southern Sudan.
13 April 2005
BERLIN - The German government on Wednesday offered 75 soldiers, to serve mainly as military observers, for a UN peace force in war-torn southern Sudan.
Under German law, foreign troop deployments require parliamentary approval. The issue will be put to the Bundestag chamber in the next few weeks.
Officials said the Germans could only be sent to southern and eastern Sudan, the zone covered by a January ceasefire agreement between Khartoum and Sudanese rebels, and would be part of a 750- strong observer group.
The United Nations is planning an overall force of 10,000 peacekeepers tasked with keeping the peace after 21 years of civil war between Khartoum, where Muslim, ethnically Arab Sudanese hold sway, and the south which is dominated by Christians and animists.
The German government said the ceasefire created an opportunity for peace in the whole of Sudan and a return of 4 million refugees to their homes. Berlin added that it would repeat an emergency 2004 grant of EUR 32.5 million for Sudanese relief.
The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said this week that the mission will likely become a long-range one such as those in Afghanistan and the Balkans. German troops are serving in both places.
Southern Sudan is still not peaceful. On Sunday, reports said fresh fighting had broken out between the forces of the former rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and pro-government militiamen.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the civil war, signed in Nairobi on 9 January between the SPLA and the Khartoum government, stipulates that parties should "refrain from any act or acts that may in any way spoil the peace process".
Subject: German news