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FM: Finland Leaving Chad by May

Finnish peacekeepers are likely to leave Chad by mid-May, according to Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. The final decision to bring troops home will be made on Friday, April 9 by President Tarja Halonen.

Image: YLE

The move comes on the heels of Ireland’s decision to withdraw its peacekeepers from the central African country. The Finns are now part of an Irish-led unit.

”We’ve been aware of Ireland’s decision and have discussed the issue on two occasions in the government's committee on foreign and security policy,” says Stubb.

The UN is currently negotiating with parties in Chad, which has prevented Finland from fast-tracking troop withdrawal.

Negotiations have stalled between Chad and a UN team on the future size of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), a Chadian official said Tuesday.

"We proposed to the UN to reduce the number of elements in MINURCAT to 400, which is largely sufficient to guard installations and civilian personnel, but the United Nations wants to keep 1,000 men," said a diplomatic source who asked not to be named.

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