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Minurcat takes over for European forces

ABECHE, Chad, March 16 (UPI) -- European troops operating in Chad and the Central African Republic since March 2008 have been replaced by U.N. peacekeepers operating under a new mandate.

The U.N. mission for the region, known as Minurcat, has taken over control of the ongoing security and military operations in Chad and the Central African Republic. The two neighboring countries continue to face significant obstacles to achieving long-term peace and stability prompted by the spillover of hostilities from the Darfur region of Sudan, the United Nations reported.

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The European military forces redeployed out of the region after a yearlong operation ended Sunday. The new mandate for Minurcat was approved in January by the U.N. Security Council, which authorized more than 5,500 troops and others to support peacekeeping in Chad and the Central African Republic.

"As Minurcat assumes its new responsibilities, the secretary-general is confident that the force will build upon and strengthen (the European forces') military achievements while continuing to execute the full range of its mandated tasks, including to contribute to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law and to support the development of the Chadian community police deployed in eastern Chad," according to a statement released by a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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