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COLOMBO, June 4 (Xinhua) -- The Maldives has signed an MoU with the United Nations (U.N.), agreeing to join peacekeeping operations as observers and infantry, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The agreement, signed in New York by the Maldives ambassador to the U.N. Ahmed Sareer last week, is the first of its kind to be signed by the country.
"This agreement marks a new era in relations between the Maldives and the U.N.," said Sareer upon signing the agreement with U.N. Under Secretary-General Herv Ladsous. "With the maturation of the Maldivian State, we look forward to taking up the mantle of leadership in all of our international endeavors. No matter how small the nation, all have an obligation to maintaining and sustaining the security of populations across the globe."
A small contingent of military observers and infantry personnel will be deployed over the next two years, said a press release from the island nation's Foreign Ministry.
Ladsous said the Maldives assistance would be valuable to the UN's work. "Maldives' experience in protecting its incredibly porous border provides invaluable expertise in addressing modern threats, including the prevention of piracy, trafficking and maritime conflict," said the U.N. official.
The initial parliamentary approval for Maldives' participation in U.N. peacekeeping missions was granted in October 2011, though it saw opposition at the time from those who argued that Maldivians ought not to be involved in foreign conflicts.
Reprinted from ShanghaiDaily.com: