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Kazakhstan to Deploy Troops in MEA for UN Peace Missions

By Vusala Abbasova January 20, 2024

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The deployment is scheduled for March 2024, with an international agreement to be concluded with the UN outlining the obligations, financial, and logistical support for Kazakhstan's participation.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed deployment of a contingent of troops to the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region for United Nations missions.

The proposal, put forward during the joint meeting of the houses of the Parliament on January 19, received unanimous support from deputies, paving the way for Kazakhstan to contribute up to 430 military personnel to various UN peacekeeping missions.

The Kazakh troops will participate in the UN Observer Force for Disengagement in the Golan Heights (UNDOF, Syria - Israel), UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO, Palestine - Israel), UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS, South Sudan), and UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA, Sudan).

At the parliamentary meeting, Defense Minister Ruslan Zhaksylykov voiced the readiness of the Armed Forces to provide a diverse set of capabilities for UN peace missions.

“The Armed Forces of Kazakhstan are ready to provide both individual military personnel as military observers and staff officers, as well as infantry, medical, reconnaissance, engineering, which are most in demand in UN missions,” Zhaksylykov said.

The Defense Minister announced plans to dispatch the first independent national peacekeeping contingent, consisting of 139 military personnel, along with their equipment, weapons, and property.

This contingent will serve as a reserve company to the UN mission monitoring disengagement in the Golan Heights. The deployment is scheduled for March 2024, with an international agreement to be concluded with the UN outlining the obligations, financial, and logistical support for Kazakhstan's participation.

Minister Zhaksylykov assured that the transportation of the contingent and equipment would be covered by the Kazakh side, with approximately $8 million allocated for the transportation of weapons, ammunition, and equipment.

Currently, Kazakhstan has officers serving in various UN missions, including six in Western Sahara, two in the Central African Republic, two in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and nine in Lebanon.

Kazakhstan has a longstanding commitment to international peacekeeping, having participated in UN peace missions for several years. Since its independence in 1991, Kazakhstan has steadily increased its involvement, moving from a small number of experts and police officers to the deployment of a peacekeeping battalion in 2000.

The Kazakh peacekeeping battalion has played a crucial role in UN missions, particularly in Iraq, where their engineering and sapper detachment neutralized over 4 million ammunition and explosive devices. Over the years, Kazakh military personnel have provided essential services, including drinking water and medical care, to local populations.

In the recent years, Kazakhstan has continued to expand its role in UN peace operations, sending military personnel to missions in Côte d'Ivoire, Western Sahara, Lebanon, the Central African Republic, and Mali. The deployments signal Astana's ongoing commitment to international peace and its efforts to enhance its global image through active participation in UN peacekeeping initiatives.