Children at a refugee camp in Sudan

Swedish Force to Darfur

Sweden and Nordic neighbor Norway have announced plans to provide engineering troops for the UN and African Union force set to serve in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and his Norwegian oppposite number, Jonas Gahr Støre, announced the plan in a press release posted on the Swedish Foreign Ministry’s web site.

The unit is planned to be in place by the end of the year, and will serve for a maximum period of 12 months. The force will number some 350, with between 150 to 160 members from Sweden, Bildt told the AP news agency.

The engineers will work on infrastructure projects to support the 26,000-strong UN and African Union peace-keeping force, due to deploy in the region later in the year.

A final decision on sending Swedish troops to the region lies with the Parliament, which is due to discuss the issue towards the end of September.

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