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Germany

Germany Approves Deployment in Sudan

The German parliament gave the green light Friday to send 75 soldiers to Sudan as part of a UN mission to secure a January peace accord with southern rebels.

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"We must not look away," German Defense Minister Struck said

The German parliament on Friday backed the deployment of peacekeepers to conflict-torn southern Sudan with an overwhelming majority: 552 parliamentarians voted in favor, three against while ten others abstained.

The deployment, initially set for six months, would be limited to southern and eastern Sudan based on a UN Security Council resolution passed in late March and approved by Khartoum this month. The government said the deployment is estimated to cost around 1.3 million euros ($1.7 million).

The troops, mainly military observers, will join a group of 750 UN observers who form part of the contingent of 10,000 UN peacekeepers. While the Germans will not offer any direct help to the strife-torn region of Darfur in the west of the country, they will be able to liaise with African Union troops deployed there.

Defense Minister Peter Struck welcomed the decision but urged the international community to do more in Darfur, which is plagued by ongoing violence and attacks by government-backed militia on villages.

"We must not look away when people in this already disadvantaged and abused continent are murdered and persecuted," he said.

A historic step to end war

Flüchtlinge im Sudan

Sudanese displaced woman sit outside their shelter in Birdageig Internally Displaced People's camp, outside El Geneina, in Western Darfur, Sudan.

The Sudanese government and the former Sudan People's Liberation Movement signed a peace agreement on Jan. 9 that put an end to a 21-year-old civil war that left 1.5 million dead.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kerstin Müller described the peace deal as a historic step to end one of Africa's bloodiest wars.

"If we succeed in securing peace in Sudan then it would have a ripple effect on other crises regions too," she said.

About 300,000 people are estimated to havedied due to war, hunger and disease and more than two million, mainly black Africas, forced out of their homes by Arab militia during more than two years of conflict between Khartoum and rebels in Darfur.

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