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Missing In Action: Promised 200-strong force yet to be registered with UN

Canadian infantry and medical personnel disembark a Chinook helicopter as they take part in a medical evacuation demonstration on the United Nations base in Gao, Mali, Saturday, December 22, 2018. More than 18 months after it was first promised to the United Nations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a promised quick-reaction force of 200 soldiers for peacekeeping missions is missing in action. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — A Canadian pledge of 200 soldiers for peacekeeping missions is missing in action more than 18 months after it was first promised to the United Nations by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The “quick-reaction” force was one of the signature pledges Trudeau made to the UN during a major peacekeeping summit in Vancouver in November 2017, along with a unit of helicopters and a transport plane.

Canada delivered on the helicopters, which have been conducting medical evacuations in Mali since last August and are close to wrapping up their mission.

And UN and Defence Department sources say an agreement is being finalized on deploying the transport plane to ferry supplies and troops around Africa.

But the sources say Canada has yet to register the quick-reaction force in a UN database of pledges, meaning it has not been formally offered for peacekeeping missions.

Walter Dorn, a peacekeeping expert at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, says there’s a sad irony in how long it is taking for the quick-reaction force to materialize, adding such forces are needed for several UN missions.

The Canadian Press

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