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Vanhanen: Unlikely Finland Will Send Troops to Darfur

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said he believes it's unlikely Finland will participate in the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Darfur. On Tuesday, the UN Security Council authorised deploying 26,000 troops to Sudan to help with the growing humanitarian crisis there. According to Vanhanen, Finland's resources are currently tied up in other peacekeeping operations across the world. However he added that Finland supports the mission politically, and expressed hope that the operation would help protect those suffering in the crisis. Vanhanen also said Finland will look into the possibility of participating in planned UN and EU civilian and military operations in Darfur. Defence Ministry Says Finnish Participation Possible Finland's Ministry of Defence said in principle, Finland could participate in the Darfur operation, if it had enough resources. However, Director for Public Policy Jyrki Iivonen of the Ministry said that Finland already has about 1,000 soldiers participating in EU battle groups in other operations. "In order to participate in Darfur, it would be necessary to make cuts in another operation. In that case, it would be possible. But still the decision would not be so straightforward," he said. Iivonen also said it's possible the EU Nordic battle group would take part in the Darfur operation on some level beginning next year. YLE

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