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Vanhanen: Possible Special Tasks for Finns in Darfur

Finland can take part in the peacekeeping operation in Darfur in some special task, said Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in a press conference held in Helsinki on Tuesday. However, he reiterated that Finland would not send actual forces to Darfur. Earlier on Tuesday, the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote that Finland would respond negatively to a UN inquiry on possible participation in the operation in the troubled area in the west of Sudan. Vanhanen said at this press conference that Finland is preparing a common UN and EU operation concerning Sudanese refugees in Chad and the Central African Republic. Vanhanen said that it is possible that Nordic rapid deployment forces would be used in the area. Finland is a participant in those forces. At the beginning of the year the UN asked its member states if they would be willing to take part in a Darfur operation. Each country was asked to respond, even though the African Union has said that there would be enough troops from African to meet the needs of the operation. However, many UN officials fear that the resources of the African countries would not be adequate to the tasks of transportation and setting up a command centre.

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