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Sunday, February 15, 2009

U.S. urges Nigeria to deploy peacekeepers to Somalia

Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Susan Rice has called on Nigeria to hasten efforts in deploying its peacekeepers to strife-torn Somalia, according to the News Agency of Nigeria reports on Saturday.

Nigeria has recently pledged to send a battalion to Somalia as part of an AU peacekeeping force.

The U.S. envoy stated this when she visited Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Joy Ogwu on Friday at the Nigerian House in New York.

The U.S. representative said that the United States is currently pursuing a UN peacekeeping commitment in Somalia.

"In this regard, we want to know what is holding back Nigeria's pledge to send a battalion of peacekeepers to Somalia," she said.

The U.S. representative said the UN Security Council has already discussed a support package for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)," she added.

"A firm response from Nigeria on the deployment of its troops will facilitate the (UN) Security Council 's planning process and decision by June 1," the ambassador said.

Rice commended Nigeria for its role in global peacekeeping, noting that Nigeria is not just an important African country, but a major contributor to international peace and security.

She also called for the strengthening of the existing cordial relations between the United States and Nigeria and between their two missions at the United Nations.

Responding, Ogwu expressed gratitude to Rice for the visit and her interest for peace and stability in Somalia and other parts of Africa.

She described the U.S. envoy as a versatile diplomat, noting that her wealth of experience in diplomacy and government would help in her new role at the UN.

Ogwu reaffirmed Nigeria's commitment to international peace and security, particularly through peacekeeping missions.

The Nigerian diplomat further reiterated Nigeria's commitment to its earlier pledge to deploy peacekeepers to Somalia to boost AU mission.

She noted that the deployment is being hindered by logistics shortfall and called for support for the effective deployment of the peacekeepers.

Source: Xinhua

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