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Operation in Lebanon delayed

THE deployment of more than 200 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) deminers and engineers set for a UN peacekeeping operation in Lebanon has been delayed by two months, officials said yesterday.

“The UN job to demine and construct bridges and buildings in Lebanon, originally scheduled for July, will be delayed because the UN needs more time to relocate troops currently situated there,” said Sem Sovanny, director general of the Institute for Peacekeeping Forces, Mines and Explosive Remnants of War Clearance.

Sem Sovanny said that with UN forces still stationed in the barracks, there are no available facilities for the Cambodian troops.

“Our forces will leave for Lebanon in September or October. We are waiting for a new schedule from the UN,” he said.

The mission to Lebanon will mark the first time Cambodia has contributed to a peacekeeping operation in the Middle East. The RCAF’s participation was requested by the UN in March.

Cambodia has sent some 468 peacekeepers to Sudan on four missions since 2006, and additional RCAF troops have been sent to Chad and the Central African Republic.

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