Japan, Mexico to join UN peacekeeping

Japan and Mexico will contribute troops to UN peacekeeping, a top UN official said Friday following a top-level meeting aimed at shoring up blue-helmet missions worldwide.

AFP| Updated: Sep 27, 2014, 05:14 AM IST

United Nations: Japan and Mexico will contribute troops to UN peacekeeping, a top UN official said Friday following a top-level meeting aimed at shoring up blue-helmet missions worldwide.

Sweden announced plans to send 250 troops to join the UN force in Mali and China said it would send a 700-strong infantry battalion to South Sudan among other pledges at the meeting chaired by US Vice President Joe Biden.

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said the decision by Japan and Mexico was "a first" and that other offers of training and equipment were made to support the missions.

"I think this is very positive," said Ladsous.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the meeting that Tokyo would be "upgrading its domestic laws and regulations in the field of security" to play a more active role in UN peacekeeping.

Japan is the second largest financial contributor to UN peace missions behind the United States, but its pacifist constitution barred Tokyo from sending troops in peace operations.

Mexico`s President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Wednesday that his country would take part in UN peacekeeping operations, during his speech to the UN General Assembly.

The announcements come after the Philippines pulled its forces from the UN force serving in the Golan following a standoff with Syrian rebels and the hostage-taking of a fellow Fijian contingent.

France pledged to train 20,000 soldiers every year while Rwanda offered helicopters and police to the peace mission in South Sudan.

A record of 130,000 troops, police and civilian staff are serving in the 16 UN peacekeeping missions worldwide but the demand for the international force remains high.