BBC: EU Chad mission set for go-ahead

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EU Chad mission set for go-ahead
Military officials are expected to give their approval on Friday for a European peacekeeping force in Chad and the Central African Republic.
The contingent will have the task of protecting refugees from Darfur and people displaced by internal fighting.

The two biggest contributors to the mission, France and Ireland, are confident that a shortfall of troops and equipment has been resolved.

France said on Thursday it could provide extra soldiers and aircraft.

Friday's military meeting in Brussels will be chaired by Irish commander Lieutenant General Pat Nash who will decide whether the contributions from EU member states will make the mission viable.

EU ministers will still have to rubber-stamp the 3,700-strong force in time for a launch in early February.

France has promised to deploy at least 1,350 troops and the Irish Defence Forces are to send a further 450.

French troops are already stationed in eastern Chad and 50 elite soldiers from the Irish Army Ranger Wing are said to be ready to begin long-range patrols.

Further contributions are to come from Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

The force which has a UN Security Council mandate is known as Eufor Chad/CAR and is expected to be deployed in four areas, three in Chad and one in the Central African Republic.

More than 200,000 refugees from Darfur are in camps in the region, along with 178,000 displaced Chadians and 43,000 Central Africans.

While General Nash will command the mission from its headquarters near Paris, a French brigadier general will take charge on the ground.

The mission has been delayed several times since November 2007, but a French government spokesman said on Thursday that President Sarkozy had authorised additional resources to help "unblock" the situation.

Until now, the force had struggled to come up with sufficient numbers of helicopters, which were considered essential for working in such a large area.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...ca/7181907.stm

Published: 2008/01/11 00:19:13 GMT

© BBC MMVIII


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Irish troops due in Chad next month
Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0111/darfur.html


The go-ahead has been given for the deployment of Irish peacekeepers in Chad.

At a meeting in Brussels this morning, problems about the provision of helicopters and medical back-up were resolved.

Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea said the first Irish troops will now be on the ground in Central Africa early next month, following a delay of about two months.

AdvertisementLast autumn, the EU agreed to send about 4,000 peacekeepers to Chad to protect refugees from neighbouring Darfur.

France is providing most of the troops. Ireland has promised over 400 soldiers and an Irish General, Lt Pat Nash, has been put in charge of the operation.

The troops were due in Chad long before Christmas, but the mission was held up because of a shortage of helicopters and medical facilities.

At this morning's meeting, France agreed to provide most of the required helicopters and Italy confirmed it would look after the medical needs.

It is now expected that French troops will be on the ground on 29 January.

A week later, the initial Irish rangers will take up position, and the main body of Irish peacekeepers will be deployed in early March.

Minister O'Dea said that while the launch process has taken longer than anticipated, the mission demonstrates the potential of the EU to respond to conflict and humanitarian crisis.
 
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