UN Peacekeeper Commander Lauds China's Peacekeeping Efforts
Chinese peacekeepers in Wau, southern Sudan, have finished the construction of the first referendum base station. But according to UN Peacekeepers in the region, more challenges lie ahead leading up to the 2011 referendum.Our reporter Zhao Yang takes a closer look.
According to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed by the northern and southern sides of Sudan, south Sudan will hold a referendum on January 9, 2011, to decide whether or not to separate from Sudan.
With that date approaching, southern Sudan has entered a critical period for implementing the agreement. Therefore, it's vital that local UN peacekeeping personnel provide a secure environment for a smooth referendum.
J.M.Ondieki,commander of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), Sector 2, where Chinese peacekeeping engineers have been deployed, elaborates on the role his team will play before and after the referendum.
"The most important thing for us right now, up to the referendum or even after the referendum is to ensure that there is a secure environment that the referendum takes place, and it is credible, and accepted by all that it was free, fare and credible. "
That could mean providing logistics assistance and technical advice, but the biggest challenge now is constructing the referendum base. Ondieki explains.
"The challenges that we are ready to face now is to do this work as fast as possible in very remote areas where security might not be the best. In southern Sudan the road infrastructure is very poor and therefore moving equipment, moving materials, moving personnel troupes are very challenging… The other thing is that the climatic conditions for southern Sudan is very unpredictable, one time it's raining, one time it's very hot. It brings out a lot of Malaria, it brings out other diseases."
Ondieki lauds the contribution of the Chinese peacekeepers. He says these difficulties can't easily beat them and more is expected from them.
"They are organized, they have the capability and focus and they are able to put up these pieces within a very short period. They are offered more tough jobs because they are the one who have the know-how. ….. The referendum support bases are coming up with one being completed this week by the Chinese engineering company which is a commendable job…while for the normal contractors, they command at least three months, but for them ten days, which is very commendable."
Sector 2 of the UN Mission in Sudan is composed of a group of international peacekeepers include the Kenya Military Contingent, the Chinese Engineering Company, the Pakistan Aviation and the Indian Reserve Company.
The Chinese peacekeepers are expected to contribute more to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, facilitate the return of refugees and protect and promote human rights in cooperation with other international partners.
For CRI, I'm Zhao Yang.