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EU Could Lead Sudan Peacekeeping Force, Top Official Says

A peacekeeping mission to Sudan could be on the cards, according to the outgoing chairman of the EU's military committee, Gustav Hägglund.

An EU peacekeeping role in Sudan is "very possible," Gustav Hägglund, who is completing his three-year stint as the EU's top military chief, told the Financial Times. His comments raise the prospect of the European Union undertaking its second peacekeeping mission outside Europe, and the second on the African continent. Last year a French-led EU force intervened in the north-eastern Congolese town of Bunia to quell an upsurge in violence. Although limited in scope, most see the intervention as a success giving the EU the confidence and credibility to proceed. EU and UN diplomats have been considering the possibility of a similar military intervention in Sudan for some time. The UN and the international community are keen to stop the ‘war within the war,’ which is currently taking place in the western Sudanese region of Dafur. Since early last year Dafur has been plagued by inter-Arab disputes and Arab-African ethnic. Many think the Dafur crisis has the potential to derail peace talks aimed at stopping the civil war. It is likely that any EU intervention would follow a UN resolution and would be headed up by a ‘lead nation,’ in keeping with the Congo (Kinshasa) mission and a recently agreed EU security plan to create a series of 'battle groups.' Italy, France and the UK have all been deeply involved in monitoring the Sudanese peace process and are the nations most likely to lead an EU force. (EUobserver.com)

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