12 Oct 2004

Vanuatu keen to provide police as UN peacekeepers

8:35 pm on 12 October 2004

The Vanuatu foreign ministry says the government is preparing to pass new laws to enable its police officers to serve as United Nations peacekeepers.

A spokesman in the foreign ministry has confirmed that the UN has asked Vanuatu for a hundred and 50 police officers to take part in its missions to Haiti and Sierra Leone.

The spokesman adds the Vanuatu government hopes to enact legislation by the end of the year, which will grant serving officers a hardship allowance.

Vanuatu's foreign minister Barak Sope is still overseas after having met UN officials in New York to discuss the peacekeeper request earlier this month.

Officials says Mr Sope has a longstanding wish to get his countrymen involved in UN missions, and tried to make this happen when he was prime minister.