African leaders pledged Monday to send more peacekeeping troops to conflict zones, especially the western Sudan region of Darfur, and to enhance their role in world affairs.
At least 40 heads of state ended a two-day summit, saying they would honor a commitment of last year to bring the number of African peacekeepers in Darfur up to the 3,320, South African President Thabo Mbeki said.
So far, only around 1,000 peacekeepers have been sent to Darfur. Mbeki blamed "logistical" difficulties for the delay.
Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister said Tuesday Tokyo plans to consider sending its troops to participate in a possible UN peacekeeping operation in Sudan, if the UN seeks cooperation.
"We must avoid the use of weapons and so far there is no actual request for it. But if there is a request, we would study it in view of what our Self-Defense Forces (SDF) can do and make a decision," Yoshinori Ono, Defense Agency Director General, told reporters.