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Australian peacekeepers deploy to Darfur.



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THE HON. JOEL FITZGIBBON MP Minister for Defence

www.defence.gov.au

Tuesday, 12 August 2008 097/2008

AUSTRALIAN PEACEKEEPERS DEPLOY TO DARFUR

The first four Australian Defence Force Peacekeepers supporting the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) flew out from Sydney today commencing their six-month deployment.

The four peacekeepers, specialists in operations, logistics and movements planning, will be joined by a further five Australians over the coming weeks.

Minister for Defence, the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, said the deployment of the peacekeepers also commenced a new operation for the Australian Defence Force.

“Operation HEDGEROW, the commitment to UNAMID, marks the sixth United Nations mission to which ADF personnel are currently deployed,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“ADF peacekeepers will provide much needed specialist support to a headquarters coordinating the contributions of 55 countries and a peacekeeping operation numbering 26,000 personnel when fully staffed.”

The nine Australian peacekeepers will be primarily based in the UNAMID headquarters at El Fasher.

UNAMID Peacekeepers are tasked with deterring the resurgence of violence in Darfur which has already claimed an estimated 300,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people from their homes.

45 nations contribute troops to UNAMID but the overwhelming majority have been provided by African Union member nations seeking to provide an African solution to the Darfur crisis.

Media Note: A new Op HEDGEROW webpage containing further information on the ADF’s commitment to UNAMID can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/global/ophedgerow/index.htm

Further information on the UNAMID mission can be found at http://unamid/unmissions.org/Default.aspx

Media contacts: Christian Taubenschlag (Joel Fitzgibbon): 02 6277 7800 or 0438 595 567 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664