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General News of Sunday, 3 December 2006

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Ghana sixth in UN troop contributors list

UNITED NATIONS: With Ghana sixth in the list of troop contributors, the UN peacekeeping deployment reached a historic high at the end of October, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) has reported.

Peacekeeping personnel come from some 112 countries. As of October 31, the top 10 troop contributors were Pakistan (9,790), Bangladesh (9,655), India (9,276), Jordan (3,819), Nepal (3,522), Ghana (2,674), Uruguay(2,583), Ethiopia (2,568), Nigeria (2,429) and South Africa (2,077).

Nearly 81,000 military and police personnel and some 15,000 civilians serving in peace operations around the world in 18 different missions, and a budget that could reach $7 billion, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guihenno said.

"The unprecedented growth represents a growing confidence in United Nations peacekeeping as a means to help build stability after conflict," he said in a statement.

The previous peak in the 58 years of UN peace operations was in July 1993, when 78,444 so-called "blue helmets" were deployed, almost one third of them in the UN Protection Force in Bosnia Herzegovina.

"These new demands have also brought unprecedented challenges to the United Nations, including in the areas of personnel, resources, management, logistical support, quality assurance, professionalism and oversight, as well as the challenge of maintaining the political engagement of Member States," Guihenno said.

The current surge began in October 2003, with the deployment of five major operations -- to Liberia, C'ted'Ivoire, Haiti, Burundi and Sudan -- and the expansion of the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Over the past three months, the newly established UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the increased deployment in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) contributed to the record-breaking number of uniformed personnel in the field.