Mongolia to send 850 peacekeepers to South Sudan

Posted: September 22, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

ULAN BATOR, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) —

The Mongolian government would send 850 soldiers to South Sudan as peacekeepers, Mongolian Defense Minister Luvsanvandan Bold said Wednesday.

"Sending soldiers to South Sudan, which is a newly independent country with civil war, is a matter of honor," the minister said.

Mongolia had been engaged in U.N. peacekeeping missions since 2002 and was now seeking a bigger role in U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, he said, adding a total of 5671 Mongolian soldiers had served in peacekeeping missions worldwide.

The skills and capacity of Mongolian troops had improved rapidly, he said.

In the past, Mongolian peacekeepers had served in conflict zones such as Iraq, Sierra Leone, Chad, Sudan, Kosova and Afghanistan, according to the defense minister.

"The responsibilities of Mongolian soldiers are also increasing. Previously, our soldiers were guarding military bases. Now they are guarding airports," he said.

In the past few years, Mongolian armed forces increased international relations and military cooperation by signing agreements with some 20 countries, Bold said, citing two military peacekeeping exercises with Chinese soldiers as an example.

Significant progress had been made in renovating military equipment. Mongolia had purchased 100 million U.S. dollars worth of military hardware from Russia in the past three years, Bold said.

The country is upgrading its military rehabilitation center, with the assistance of China and cooperating with U.S., Germany, South Korea and Turkey, he said

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