Nordic countries approve troops for mission in Darfur

Officials from Iceland agreed with ministers from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway last week that they would contribute troops and civilian police to the UN peacekeeping mission to Sudan’s Darfur region.

The ministerial meeting lasted for two days and also involved discussions regarding the current situation in Afghanistan and related peacekeeping issues.

Carl Bildt, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Sweden, said that both Sweden and Norway would contribute 350 troops to the peacekeeping unit in Darfur.

UNICEF estimates that some 3.6 million people in Sudan have been affected by the ongoing crisis in the Darfur region including nearly 2 million internally displaced people living in temporary camps.

For the last year, the United Nations has held a series of discussions regarding the peacekeeping force which should be deployed in Sudan to deal with the situation of ongoing conflict. Sudan has raised objections to the presence of what it deems foreign troops in its territory.

The most recent resolution was passed on July 31st 2007, allowing for a joint peacekeeping force made up of United Nations troops and African Union troops to take over from the current African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) troops by the end of December 2007. This is the mission to which Sweden and Norway, with the support of Iceland, Finland and Denmark, will contribute troops.