UN peacekeeping report

Marc-André Blanchard says the new mission in Africa will be different than those of the past, with a big shift to focus on "peacemaking" and the right of Canadian troops to protect civilians caught in the crosshairs of conflict.

Canada’s mission in Africa will be focused on ‘peacemaking,’ UN ambassador says

Canada’s ambassador to the UN says there will be “no quick fix” in Africa — a sign that Canadian peacekeepers waiting for deployment therecould be in for a long-term commitment to the region ravaged by civil war and terrorism.

“There is no quick fix for anything in peace and security in some areas of the world and in the regions [Canada is considering for a mission],” Marc-André Blanchard said in an interview with CBC Radio’s The House. He said while the road ahead might be dangerous for Canadian troops, the country has an obligation to intervene to prevent the violence from reaching our shores.

The government announced Friday it will commit $450 million to peace operations and the Canadian Armed Forces will, on top of existing commitments in the Middle East, eastern Europe and elsewhere, deploy up to 600 troops as part of the mission to Africa.

While Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan did not reveal Friday wherethis new contingentof peacekeepers would be headed, sources told CBC News that UN and U.S. officials have been pushing the Trudeau government to consider missions in Africa to help prevent peacekeeping disasters like those in Somalia and Rwanda in the 1990s. Sajjan himself has said Africa hasn’t gotten “the right amount of attention” in recent years.

The leading candidates for Canadian troop deployments include Mali, Congo and the Central African Republic. The final destination for these troops will be decided at the UN peacekeeping conference in London, which is scheduled to take place in two weeks.

Peacekeeping Canada 20160826

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan speaks during a news conference at CFB Bagotville in Saguenay, Quebec, on Friday, August 26, 2016. The Liberal government is putting the United Nations on notice that Canada is ready to provide money and, more importantly, troops for peacekeeping missions around the world.

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