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Countries pledge more troops to United Nations

Countries pledge more troops to United Nations

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday announced steps to upgrade U.N. peacekeeping, with his administration saying more than 50 countries have pledged to contribute more than 40,000 new troops and police to serve in some of the world's most volatile areas.

But there was no sign the U.S., which pays a quarter of the peacekeeping budget, would put more of its own troops in the field.

The United States led a high-level meeting to strengthen and modernize the peacekeeping agency, whose nearly 125,000 personnel increasingly face threats from extremist groups while being severely stretched in personnel and equipment. Deployments to crises can take several months.

For months, officials such as U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power have pressed countries, especially European ones, to contribute more. European countries contributed more than 40 percent of U.N. peacekeepers two decades ago but now provide less than 7 percent.

The U.N. has no standing army, meaning that it's up to the U.N.'s 193 member states to supply people and equipment.

In addition to new troops, the dozens of leaders from India, Britain and China and elsewhere said they would contribute the kinds of more sophisticated equipment the U.N.'s peacekeepers say they need: special forces, intelligence units, engineering skills field hospitals and unarmed drones.

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