German Defense Minister Peter Struck on Monday meets with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York to talk about Germany's involvement in peacekeeping missions in Sudan and Afghanistan.
Germany plans to deploy UN observers to Sudan
One of the main topics on Struck's agenda is the Struck is the UN's mission in Sudan. According to news reports, the German defense minister will talk with Annan about whether the plan deployment of military observers, including 75 from Germany, will actually go ahead after the Sudanese government has so far delayed it.
New unrest after the recent death of Sudanese Vice President John Garang in a helicopter crash could also complicate the mission. So far, four German soldiers are in Sudan for preparatory work.
During his three-day visit, Struck will also meet with Hedi Annabi, the UN's assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping and Lakhdar Brahimi, a special adviser to Annan and the United Nation's former envoy to Afghanistan.
The future in Afghanistan
Struck during a 2004 visit to Afghanistan
The situation in Afghanistan is another issue Struck plans to discuss. About 2,200 German soldiers are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of the UN-mandated, NATO-led peacekeeping mission. Struck plans to discuss shifting more responsibility to the Afghan government after parliamentary elections scheduled to take place Sept. 18.
According to the defense ministry, about 6,500 soldiers are currently serving in missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Georgia, Kosovo and Sudan. This makes Germany one of the country with the most troops abroad to participate in international missions.
Since 1992, the Bundeswehr has participated in 31 missions at a cost of 7.8 billion euros ($9.6 billion), according to government officials.