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Daily Archives: January 29, 2008

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The European Union launched yesterday its long-awaited peacekeeping force for Chad and the Central African Republic to help protect hundreds of thousands of refugees from strife-torn Darfur.
The 3,700-strong contingent, which was meant to deploy in November but was delayed by a shortfall in troops and equipment and a funding row, could be ready to begin work in earnest in March under a United Nations mandate.
The first troops are set to deploy this week.
EU foreign ministers announced during a meeting in Brussels that they had "adopted a decision on the launching of the European Union military operation in the Republic of Chad and in the Central African Republic".
The move allows the mission's commander, Irish General Pat Nash, to begin deploying the force, to which France will be supplying the lion's share of the troops, and get the operation under way.
The EUFOR Chad-CAR mission has a UN Security Council mandate to back up for one year some 300 UN police officers sent to monitor camps for Darfur refugees and internally displaced persons.
About 234,000 Darfur refugees, along with 179,000 displaced eastern Chadians and 43,000 Central Africans also uprooted by strife and rebellion in the north of their country, are housed in camps in the region.
Many are in danger due to the insurgency there.
The ministers said the EU troops would help protect civilians in danger, particularly refugees and those forced from their homes, and ease the delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as ensure the free movement of aid workers.
"In conducting this operation the EU is stepping up its long-standing action in support of efforts to tackle the crisis in Darfur and to address its regional ramifications," they said in a statement.
Nash will command the force from its headquarters in Paris, while the leader on the ground, in eastern Chad, will be French General Jean-Philippe Ganascia.
Soldiers from 14 countries will take part, including at least 2,000 French, 400 Irish and 400 Polish troops, as well as 160 from officially neutral Austria, EU diplomats and officials have said.
France already has troops permanently posted in Chad, and has lent military support to the armies of both that country and the CAR in fighting insurgency, and had been reluctant to play too big a role in the EU force.
On December 31, during a New Year visit to Chad, French Defence Minister Herve Morin told troops there that they were to help EU contingents "for whom Africa isn't a natural theatre of operations".
The deployment was delayed by reluctance among nations to provide troops and equipment and a major dispute over funding, with Britain — its military stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan — reluctant to pay.
Almost 120 million euros (176 million dollars) have been earmarked for the mission, but military officials say the real cost could be more than five times that sum.
The EU ministers said the operation's "initial operational capability" should be reached in March, with a combined EU-UN review of the force due in six months.
Austria said it would send an advance team on Wednesday, with an additional 40 troops due in country next week to start building the force's camp.

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The European Union launched yesterday its long-awaited peacekeeping force for Chad and the Central African Republic to help protect hundreds of thousands of refugees from strife-torn Darfur.The 3,700-strong contingent, which was meant to deploy in November but was delayed by a shortfall in troops and equipment and a funding row, could be ready to begin work in earnest in March under a United Nations mandate.The first troops are set to deploy this week.EU foreign ministers announced during a meeting in Brussels that they had "adopted a decision on the launching of the European Union military operation in the Republic of Chad and in the Central African Republic".The move allows the mission's commander, Irish General Pat Nash, to begin deploying the force, to which France will be supplying the lion's share of the troops, and get the operation under way.The EUFOR Chad-CAR mission has a UN Security Council mandate to back up for one year some 300 UN police officers sent to monitor camps for Darfur refugees and internally displaced persons.About 234,000 Darfur refugees, along with 179,000 displaced eastern Chadians and 43,000 Central Africans also uprooted by strife and rebellion in the north of their country, are housed in camps in the region.Many are in danger due to the insurgency there.The ministers said the EU troops would help protect civilians in danger, particularly refugees and those forced from their homes, and ease the delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as ensure the free movement of aid workers."In conducting this operation the EU is stepping up its long-standing action in support of efforts to tackle the crisis in Darfur and to address its regional ramifications," they said in a statement.Nash will command the force from its headquarters in Paris, while the leader on the ground, in eastern Chad, will be French General Jean-Philippe Ganascia.Soldiers from 14 countries will take part, including at least 2,000 French, 400 Irish and 400 Polish troops, as well as 160 from officially neutral Austria, EU diplomats and officials have said.France already has troops permanently posted in Chad, and has lent military support to the armies of both that country and the CAR in fighting insurgency, and had been reluctant to play too big a role in the EU force.On December 31, during a New Year visit to Chad, French Defence Minister Herve Morin told troops there that they were to help EU contingents "for whom Africa isn't a natural theatre of operations".The deployment was delayed by reluctance among nations to provide troops and equipment and a major dispute over funding, with Britain — its military stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan — reluctant to pay.Almost 120 million euros (176 million dollars) have been earmarked for the mission, but military officials say the real cost could be more than five times that sum.The EU ministers said the operation's "initial operational capability" should be reached in March, with a combined EU-UN review of the force due in six months.Austria said it would send an advance team on Wednesday, with an additional 40 troops due in country next week to start building the force's camp.

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