Indonesia Denies Reports It Offered to Lead UN Peace Force in Somalia..

Halkaan ka akhri

The government on Thursday denied media reports that it had offered to lead a United Nations peacekeeping force in Somalia, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that UN peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told the Security Council that Indonesia had offered to spearhead peacekeeping in the Muslim country.

United Nations officials have reportedly insisted that a Muslim country be in charge of any UN force sent to the volatile African state. Indonesia, while a secular country, is home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

Indonesia has informed the United Nations “that it would be ready to provide troops and to take on a lead role in a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia,” Le Roy was quoted as saying.

Speaking on the phone from Manado, Faizasyah said no such commitment had been made by Indonesia to the United Nations.

“However, we are committed to participating in all UN peacekeeping missions as we previously have done so in accordance with the UN mandate,” Faizasyah said, adding that sending peacekeeping troops to Somalia, let alone leading a UN force, remains a serious issue regarding the current situation in the country.

“We will have to carefully consider the technicalities and the mandate to send troops there as the conditions will be hard for us,” Faizasyah said, adding that sending troops to Somalia was different from sending a peacekeeping force to other places such as Sudan and Lebanon.

“[At this point] it is not possible for us to send troops there [Somalia],” he said.

More than 1,100 Indonesian soldiers are participating in UN peacekeeping missions in Lebanon, which comprises a total of 13,000 UN personnel.

The Indonesian military has also deployed five peacekeeping missions to Congo, with the first mission departing in 1960.

Under the United Nations, Indonesia has deployed peacekeeping personnel to conflict zones around the world, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Egypt, Georgia, Iraq, Kuwait, Mozambique and the Philippines.

Reuters reported that Somalia has been a byword for anarchy since a dictatorship was overthrown in 1991. Currently, large parts of southern and central Somalia are under the control of hard-line Al Shabaab insurgents and allied Islamist fighters. Years of conflict in Somalia have confounded 15 attempts to establish a central government, killing tens of thousands, displacing millions and creating a security vacuum that has spawned piracy and other criminal activity.

Source Jakarta Globe

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