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Nepali Army to resume sending troops to UN peace mission from next week



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By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, July 5: Deployment of Nepali Army personnel in the United Nations peacekeeping mission, which was suspended because of COVID-19, is going to resume from the second week of July, 2020.
Nepali Army has currently been keeping its nearly 1,000 troops in ready position by sending them in quarantine at the Birendra Army Peace Operation Training Centre (BPOTC), Paanchkhal in Kavre.
The BPOTC is the only one and main pre-deployment training centre of the Nepali Army. The Army Headquarters has begun the process of resuming the blue helmet mission after receiving notification from the Department of Peacekeeping Operation (DPKO) of the United Nations.
The UN has made it mandatory for the peacekeepers to have undergone coronavirus test and stayed in quarantine before leaving for the peace mission in any country.
Last week, the US government had handed over the COVID-19 related test and medical goods worth USD 450,000 to the NA.
American ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry had handed over the goods to Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) General Purna Chandra Thapa.
According to Brigadier General and spokesperson at Nepali Army Headquarters, Bigyan Dev Pandey, the Nepali UN peacekeepers will be deployed from the second week of July and an agreement to have a chartered flight with the Nepal Airlines had also been completed on Thursday (July 2). As per the agreement, the first flight will take off on July 8.
Owning to the threat of the virus, earlier, 699 Nepali Army personnel, who were almost ready to fly for a peacekeeping mission to South Sudan, were kept on hold upon the instruction of the DPKO Headquarters, New York, he said.
With the resumption of the mission, 56 forces of Nepali Army will be deployed in Democratic Republic of Congo, 138 in Mali, and 230 in Libya.
As per the agreement inked between the Nepal Airlines and the Nepali Army on Thursday, the first flight will be conducted on July 8 taking the peacekeepers to the Central African Republic under the mission named Multidimensional United Nations Peacekeeping Operation (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), according to the Army Headquarters.
A total of 5,091 Nepali peacekeepers are currently serving in 12 different missions, according to records of the Army Headquarters.
Nepal is the fourth largest nation in the world to contribute troops in the peacekeeping mission of the UN. 

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