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Press Release 2008

U.S. Equipment Donation Supports Ethiopian Peacekeepers' Deployment to Darfur

Addis Ababa (U.S. Embassy)

On Thursday, United States Ambassador to Ethiopia Donald Yamamoto officially handed over equipment and supplies worth USD 2.1 million to Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) troops preparing to deploy to Darfur as peacekeepers.  This donation is part of a broad United States initiative to support African partners' participation in the United Nations-African Union Mission to Darfur (UNAMID).

At the handover ceremony, Ambassador Yamamoto said, "The United States remains committed to helping the people of Darfur.  We are proud to support the Ethiopian contribution to peacekeeping operations there.  Ethiopian troops have played a critical role in the success of recent peacekeeping operations in Burundi, Ivory Coast, and Liberia, and we commend their pledge to UNAMID."

The supplies handed over in Addis Ababa today will help equip one full troop battalion and three companies of ENDF peacekeepers (more than 800 troops total) for participation in UNAMID.  The donated equipment is strictly non-lethal and includes uniforms, boots, helmets, body armor, demining suits, tents, GPS systems, night vision goggles, first aid kits, and insect nets.  Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE), the lead implementing partner for the donation, provided ENDF trainers with familiarization training on the new equipment.

This support for Ethiopian peacekeepers follows President George W. Bush's February 2008 announcement that the United States will help fund training and equipment for African peacekeepers pledged to deploy under UNAMID.  On his visit to Rwanda, President Bush committed the United States to "assist African nations willing to step forward for the cause of peace in Darfur," singling out for support countries that had pledged troops for UNAMID: Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Malawi.

Support for UNAMID contributing countries will build on the United States' existing support for peacekeeping operations in Darfur.  In the past three years, the United States spent more than $450 million to build, operate and maintain 34 peacekeeping bases camps for African Union forces that are now part of UNAMID.  Since 2004, total direct and indirect U.S. support provided to peacekeeping operations in Darfur totals more than USD 600 million.

As Ambassador Yamamoto noted at today's ceremony, "We must all work together to end the crisis in Darfur.  Ethiopia's role, as a cornerstone of stability in the region and on the continent, is particularly important."