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Senior military official in Chad for talks on future of UN mission

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A top United Nations military official is in Chad today for consultations with Government officials on the next stage of operations to bring stability to strife-ridden eastern Chad and the northeast of the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR).

Both countries have been beset by widespread fighting and civilian displacement in recent years owing to rebel activity and a spill-over from Sudan's Darfur conflict.

Lieutenant-General Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, Military Adviser of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), is scheduled to discuss the future of the UN Mission in CAR and Chad (MINURCAT) after the withdrawal next March of EUFOR, the European military force now entrusted with protecting civilians and refugees in the area.

Gen. Obiakor is also expected to travel to Abeche and Farchana in north-eastern Chad to visit UN and EUFOR operations there. MINURCAT, which includes a multi-dimensional UN presence and EUFOR, was set up by the Security Council in September 2007 in response to the dire humanitarian situation in the two countries.

At present the UN component comprises some 270 uniformed personnel, including 45 military observers and 226 police officers, supported by 272 international civilian personnel, 139 local civilian staff and 70 UN Volunteers.