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Japan Prepares to Send Peacekeepers to South Sudan


Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2011, at U.N. headquarters.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda addresses the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2011, at U.N. headquarters.

Japan's Prime Minister says his government is taking steps to deploy troops to South Sudan for peacekeeping duties.

Friday, Yoshihko Noda told the U.N. General Assembly that Japan will extend support for nation-building efforts in South Sudan, as well as the consolidation of peace in the region.

A Japanese survey team is expected to head to South Sudan this month to gather information on security and infrastructure needs.

Fighting along the border Sudan and South Sudan has been escalating since June, about a month before South Sudan split from the north and declared independence.

New satellite images have appeared to show thousands of Sudanese government troops marching toward a rebel stronghold in a contested region near South Sudan. The Satellite Sentinel Project, a U.S.-based monitoring group, says the forces include heavy armor, artillery, tanks and helicopter gunships.

Khartoum has repeatedly claimed that the South Sudanese military is supporting the rebels in the oil-rich border state, but Juba denies the charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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