The UN recently asked the Swedish government if it had the manpower to send troops to Mali to assist peacekeeping operations, particularly in the information and intelligence gathering departments.
Bildt said they want to respond in a positive manner to the request and they could send “several hundred” troops; however, he said they wouldn’t send troops into direct combat positions and that they may even require protection.
The minister revealed that should they decide to deploy the military personnel, they would first need to be given the go-ahead from parliament. The government is currently putting a bill together on the issue, which could be completed by spring.
Bildt, who has just returned from Mali, said they need more information before they can make a decision, stating that if it’s his responsibility to put the proposal to parliament he must know the exact details.
It has been reported that the opposition Social Democrats would support the deployment of troops to Mali, where the UN is concentrating mainly on the areas of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao.
In June last year, the Swedish parliament approved the deployment 160 troops to the West African nation for a maximum of 12 months to support the peacekeeping mission.