New York — China has officially accepted to send a battalion of 850 soldiers to bolster the United Nations peacekeeping efforts in war-hit South Sudan, an official disclosed.
UN peacekeeping chief, Hervé Ladsous speaks to reporters after a meeting with Jonglei state governor Kuol Manyang Juuk (left behind) who discusses with his aides in Bor on 7 July 2013 (ST)
Herve Ladsous, the UN peacekeeping chief told reporters on Thursday that the Chinese were expected in the new nation within the "next few months".
He also hinted on the planned deployment of Ethiopian troops and more Kenyan peacekeepers in the world's youngest nation in the next two weeks.
"Member States and the UN have a fundamental responsibility to prevent armed conflict and to protect people from atrocities and egregious crimes", Ladsous wrote in an opinion marking the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.
"Today, protection is at the heart of modern UN Peacekeeping, with ten peacekeeping operations, containing 95 per cent of all our deployed personnel, having a mandate to protect civilians", he added.
The UN Security Council (UNSC), in late December last year, approved an extra 5, 500 peacekeepers for South Sudan following the violent outbreak of conflict in the country.
On Tuesday, the Council approved a resolution extending its South Sudan mission mandate until 30 November and authorised it to use "all necessary means" to protect civilians, monitor and investigate human rights, create the conditions for delivery of humanitarian assistance, and support the implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
The mission, the resolution stated, will remain with the 12,500 troops and 1,323 police forces approved by the UNSC in late December last year.
Over a million people have been displaced in the country and many others have been forced to flee the conflict into neighbouring Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.