Kazakhstan to join UN peacekeeping for first time

ASTANA - Kazakhstan, seeking a more prominent role on the world stage, decided on Friday to send officers to aid United Nations peacekeeping missions next year for the first time since independence in 1991.
Twenty officers, who will have observer status at UN peacekeeping forces, will be sent in groups of five to Haiti, Western Sahara, Ivory Coast and Liberia, in line with a decision by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev backed unanimously by both chambers of the legislature on Friday.
It will be the first time the world's ninth-largest nation by area and Central Asia's largest economy, helped by oil production, joins UN peacekeeping since it won independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union 22 years ago.
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