Kenya will host the UN Peacekeeping Rapid Deployment of Engineering, Africa Unit, a senior UN official said on Wednesday. Peacekeep
UN Director of Operational Support Services Houston Fergusson said the unit will boost the capacity of African countries contributing troops to UN peacekeeping missions.
The UN Engineering Unit, the two officials said, will fill a critical gap in peace keeping. The unit is being established by the UN with support from Japan.
The East African nation has revised its foreign policy to enhance the country’s participation in peace and development endeavors in Africa.
Kenya’s experience in the field of peacekeeping spans over three decades beginning with the first deployment to Chad under the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1979.
In those three decades, Kenya has committed over 30,000 troops in peacekeeping missions abroad and the trend will continue in future, according to defense ministry officials.
The official says Kenya is well placed to be a net exporter of peace in the region as the east African nation modernizes its military to combat internal and external threats to stability.
Currently, the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) are operating in six peacekeeping missions including Sudan, Lebanon, Somalia, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
Speaking during the meeting on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta welcomed the decision by the UN to establish its African Peacekeepers Engineering Unit in Kenya.
“Kenya is a key contributor of peace keepers and will also benefit from the unit,” the president said in a statement issued after the meeting.
He said the government is committed to international obligations even as Kenya continued its efforts to stabilize troubled countries in the region.
“Kenya’s effort to stabilize the region comes at a cost. My government, however, remains committed to a peaceful region,” he said.
Kenyatta called on the international community to recognize “the sacrifices Kenya has made” in hosting refugees from different countries since independence.
“Despite all the security challenges the country has undergone, it has kept its doors open for hundreds of thousands of refugees from across the continent,” he said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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