Written by By Marc Keyser, CNN
Canada says it will begin contributing troops to international peacekeeping missions, but will not bring the roughly 850 forces it is already planning to contribute to the UN mission in South Sudan.
South Sudan is in a particularly dire state after it plunged into a civil war in 2013 that has reportedly killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million. The UN is set to decide this week whether to allow the deployment of up to 1,600 more peacekeepers to bolster the force currently on the ground.
“Canada is committed to peace and security around the world, and we do recognize the tough realities facing South Sudan today,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Sunday, noting the “urgent and unprecedented humanitarian crisis” in the country.
“Despite the progress achieved in South Sudan, a long-term political settlement is urgently needed to prevent a repeat of the horrors that have engulfed the country.”
But even as Canada looks forward, the UN has threatened to suspend peacekeeping operations in the east African nation if Ottawa doesn’t step up.
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The Canadian military pledged hundreds of soldiers to South Sudan as part of the UN mission there in 2016, but was forced to deactivate its four Brigade Corps in late 2017 because of a budget shortfall.
The Canadian government said it has pledged to return to South Sudan after negotiations and agreed to reduce the size of its F-18 fighter jet fleet, as well as to bring in more boats, equipment and search and rescue teams.
UN peacekeeping has faced ongoing scrutiny in recent years, as some contend it has become a patronage operation in which troop-contributing countries grease the wheels of international diplomacy with plenty of taxpayer money.
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