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Italy 's Prodi To Head Panel On Africa Peacekeeping
Saturday, September 13, 2008
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi will head a panel that will consider how the international community can support African Union peacekeeping operations, the United Nations said on Friday.
The six-member U.N./AU panel of "distinguished persons" will start meeting in New York on Monday. It is due to submit a report to the Security Council by the end of the year, U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said.
"The panel will consider lessons from past and current African Union peacekeeping efforts and explore possible options to enhance the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of resources for African Union peacekeeping operations mandated by the Security Council," Montas told reporters.
The panel is being set up under a Security Council resolution passed in April.
AU peacekeeping missions have had a chequered history. A 7,000-strong mission in Sudan 's Darfur region was ineffectual and is being replaced by a 26,000-strong U.N./AU force. Another force in Somalia is at only about one quarter of its intended strength.
African officials have repeatedly said the outside world needs to support AU peacekeepers with funds and equipment.
Prodi's center-left Italian coalition was defeated in an April election by a center-right alliance headed by Silvio Berlusconi, who replaced him as prime minister. Prodi is also a former head of the European Commission. (Reporting by Patrick Worsnip, editing by Ross Colvin)
Source: Reuters, Sept 12, 2008