UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to send more troops to UN peacekeeping missions urgently.
Diplomatic sources said the Bangladeshi troops might be deployed in South Sudan for reinforcing the UN peacekeeping force there to stem a conflict increasingly marked by ethnically targeted killings.
The UN chief phoned the prime minister in the evening and requested her to send “an army battalion with necessary equipment,” prime minister's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad told The Daily Star.
AK Abdul Momen, ambassador and permanent representative of Bangladesh to the UN, also confirmed the UN request.
Momen said he had sent an urgent letter to the Armed Forces Division (AFD) on Monday upon repeated requests from the UN Peacekeeping Office to send troops for deployment on peacekeeping missions.
“The officials of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations might have pursued the UN secretary-general to directly call the Bangladeshi prime minister to make a request for the emergency need,” he added.
The United Nations, he mentioned, is fully aware of the fact that it is possible only for Bangladesh to send troops for peacekeeping missions within the shortest possible time of eight to 10 weeks.
As of 30 November 2013, Bangladesh has contributed the second highest number of military and police personnel to UN Peacekeeping Operations, totaling 7,968 members.
Bangladesh is sending some 1,450 troops to the peacekeeping mission in Mali, which is already under process, Momen told this correspondent.
Incidentally, Ban on December 11 had called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to open a dialogue with the opposition parties to resolve political crisis.