17 February 2013

South Sudan: Mongolian President Visits Peacekeeping Forces in South Sudan

Bentiu — The Mongolian president, Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, visited his country's troops who are serving as the United Nations peacekeepers in South Sudan Unity State on Friday.

The Mongolian president was welcomed by South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit and the UN special representative Hilde Johnson upon his arrival at Juba International Airport on Friday afternoon before heading to Unity state to see the Mongolian element of the United Nation Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

President Elbegdorj's visit is also aimed to strengthen Mongolia's diplomatic relations with South Sudan, which became independent in 2011.

Addressing Mongolian troops and UN workers in Bentiu, Elbegdorj urged his soldiers promote peace and contribute to the development of South Sudan, which is one the world's poorest as well as being the world's youngest nation.

Through an interpreter Elbegdorj told his troops continue "contributing to world peace" by fulfilling the tasks "given by the UNMISS and supporting the government of South Sudan".

"You must perform your duties very well to contribute your contribution for the peace building process for the South Sudan", said Elbegdorj.

The president said the Mongolian army had contributed to UN peacekeeping forces for more than 10 years and sending a total of 10,000 troops to serve as UN peacekeepers.

Hiruy Amanuel, the chief of political affairs representative at UNMISS, said that Elbegdorj's visit was the first to South Sudan by both a head of state outside of Africa.

His visit is also the first from a country contributing troops to the UN Mission, Amanuel said, adding that the mission is deeply honoured by this visit.

Amanuel said: "When the national of one country work in another country in a peacekeeping operation it is natural to expects beneficial effects for the relations between two countries, UNMISS very much hope that the experiences of Mongolians in South Sudan and your visits in particular will generate curiosity and interest in both countries and serve as catalyst for the launching of development of relation between two countries, between states and regions, between cities, between schools and medical institutions should such link be pouch the present of Mongolia contingent in South Sudan will be more than a contribution to a UN operation."

UN peace keeping forces arrived in Sudan in 2005 after a peace deal reached between former rebels - the SPLA - and Sudanese government at Naivasha Kenya.

Later after South Sudan independent in July 2011 a new mandate was signed between UN and South Sudan government to continue its mandate of protection of civilians.

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