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Ethiopian forces await UN approval to deploy in Abyei, says army chief

“Our army is very well experienced in various peacekeeping missions across Africa and is trusted by the Sudanese parties,” Samora told the state ETv.

The deployment is part of the agreement signed between Khartoum and Juba last Monday.

According to the agreement, the armies of both sides would withdraw from the disputed region ahead of the arrival of Ethiopia’s troops.

The Abyei mission will be Ethiopia’s fourth full-scale peacekeeping mission in the last 15 years under the United Nations flag. Its forces were deployed in Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia in the past in the aftermath devastating conflicts.

Ethiopia is seen as a trusted party by both North and South Sudan and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is deeply involved in the ongoing negotiations.

Traditionally, Ethiopia has backed the Southern SPLM, but in the last decade, Addis Ababa has sought to improve relations with Khartoum.

South Sudan is set to declare independence 9 July, but the security situation has deteriorated and negotiations are under way in Addis Ababa on ways to avoid further bloodshed.

Currently, another warring party from North Kordofan region has joined the negotiations mediated by the Africa Union.

Pana 26/06/2011

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