Forces of the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali receive their blue berets in Bamako. Photo: MINUSMA/Blagoje Grujic
Forces of the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali receive their blue berets in Bamako. Photo: MINUSMA/Blagoje Grujic

Cambodia has dispatched 218 Blue Helmets to join the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission in the conflict-torn West African nation of Mali, the Khmer Times reported on Monday.

A ceremony to send them off on Friday was presided over by Director-General of the National Centre for Peacekeeping Forces (NCPF) General Sem Sovanny at the Phnom Penh International Airport.

According to NCPF, the 218 peacekeepers – of whom 18 are women – are replacing the equal number of Blue Helmets who are on their way back home.

Speaking at the event, Gen. Sovanny said the personnel being sent have certificates stating that each individual has tested negative for COVID-19 before departure and upon arrival will undergo 14-day quarantine before beginning their mission.

He said that Cambodia takes COVID-19 transmission seriously and will take all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the peacekeepers.

He said the NCPF also reminds all Cambodian forces who are on overseas missions to be vigilant and take measures to prevent transmission of the virus.

“Despite the global pandemic, Cambodia is committed to keep sending personnel for peacekeeping missions as part of its obligations as a member of the United Nations,” Gen. Sovanny was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

According to NCPF, Cambodia has so far committed some 800 of its Blue Helmets, including 80 women, to U.N. peacekeeping missions across Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Central African Republic.

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