Keeping peace in Africa is tough

Any country willing to help the peace process along in Somalia has to be ready for a long hard slog, said Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

Any country willing to help the peace process along in Somalia has to be ready for a long hard slog, said Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota.

"I don't think it is quite correct to say there has been a reluctance on the part of African countries to deploy to Somalia," he told a media briefing in Cape Town yesterday

While the African Union (AU) supported stabilising the situation in Somalia, it had to be understood that many African countries, no matter how willing they were to make a contribution, had to balance this against their capabilities.

For instance, South Africa had for long been the only country able to deploy troops in Burundi.

At a later stage, Mozambique and Ethiopia made troops available, but had no resources to carry out such a mission. It was only through additional support from nations such as the UK, that they were able to deploy there.

"Many of the countries to the north of us are not able to make those contributions anytime and anyhow," Lekota said.

Countries such as Ghana and Nigeria had poured troops into Darfur, Sudan.

They had also deployed forces elsewhere, having been in the peacekeeping field much longer than South Africa.

"So I don't think we should interpret inability and incapacity as reluctance to make that contribution," said Lekota. - Sapa

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