Ottawa, Canada | AFP |
Canada is planning to send 600 troops on a UN peacekeeping mission to Africa for three years, a spokesperson for the defense minister told AFP Friday.
However, the plan still requires cabinet approval, said Jordan Owens, the spokeswoman for Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.
In a Remembrance Day statement, Sajjan hinted at an imminent start to the mission, saying: “The government is about to ask up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces members to deploy in aid of UN peace-support operations.”
The minister recently returned from visiting trouble spots in Africa, most recently Mali, as he mulls where to send soldiers.
He has also traveled to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In an interview with the Toronto Star newspaper, Sajjan said Canadian troops could be spread among several African countries, where they would help train local troops and support host nations’ de-radicalization efforts.
The aim is to have an “enduring” impact, he told the Star.
“These missions, all of them, have the level of risk where peacekeepers have been hurt, they have been killed. And we’ve been looking at the risk factor in a very serious way,” Sajjan said.
In August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged the troops Can$450 million (US$332 million) for UN peace operations around the world.