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NZ observers to join UN mission in Sudan

5/16/2005 9:53am

WELLINGTON, May 16, 2005 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand will contribute two military observers to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Sudan, Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Defence Minister Mark Burton announced Monday.

They will begin observer roles next month on a one-year deployment.

A third officer may deploy later in the year as part of the mission's headquarters staff in southern Sudan, said Goff.

He said a UN resolution in March had established the peacekeeping mission, which will support the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between warring Sudanese parties in January.

New Zealand's recognition of the plight of people in Darfur has seen the government contribute 4 million NZ dollars (2.9 million US dollars) directly to humanitarian relief efforts there in the last year.

A further 1 million NZ dollars (730,000 US dollars) has been provided in support of New Zealand NGOs working in Darfur, western Sudan and in neighboring countries, said Goff.

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