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Ethiopia, UN officials discuss troops’ participation in peacekeeping missions

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UNISFA peacekeepers play with Misseriya children in Abyei on 6 March 2019 (UINISFA photo)July 16, 2021 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister and the visiting Head of UN Department of Operational Support discussed Ethiopian participation in UN peacekeeping missions including in Abyei.

The Ethiopian foreign ministry, on Friday, stated that Demeke Mekonnen discussed with Atul Khare the "positive role "of Ethiopian soldiers in the UN peacekeeping missions.

Mekonnen stressed that the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) which is entirely formed of Ethiopian uniformed personnel "has been playing a very constructive role in maintaining peace and stability in Abyei, although confronted with various challenges".

The statement did not mention if Khare who had just concluded a visit to Khartoum raised again Sudan’s request to replace the Ethiopian troops with peacekeepers from other nationalities.

Graham Maitland, UN Director for Eastern African Division of the Department of Political and Peace Building Affairs and Operations had discussed the matter with Mekonnen, on 28 June.

The Ethiopian foreign minister, at the time, said that the withdrawal of its troops from the Sudan South Sudan border disputed area requires the agreement of the Juba government

Mekennen also discussed a call by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the UN Secretary-General on July 6 to prevent Ethiopian soldiers who have participated in military operations in the Tigray region from participating in UN peacekeeping operations.

The minister "expressed Ethiopia’s disappointment at the recent letter sent by senator MANDEZ to UNSG that failed to recognize the contribution of the Ethiopian peacekeeping forces who are serving to maintain peace and security," reads the statement.

According to the latest UN statistics, Ethiopia is the third biggest contributor of soldiers to the peacekeeping missions with 6245 troops. The Horn of Africa nation comes after Bangladesh and Rwanda.

(ST)

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