White House reaffirms commitment to Sinai peacekeeping

The United States on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to peacekeeping efforts in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, the White House said, amid reports that the Pentagon has is planning to cut the number of American peacekeeping troops in the peninsula, partly because of the growing threat from the Islamic State group

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Washington is considering using advances in technology as a way to supplement its peacekeeping efforts in the Sinai, according to Reuters.

"The U.S. commitment to this treaty and this mission has never been stronger," Earnest said at a news briefing.

About 700 American troops participate in a UN operation established after Israel and Egypt signed a 1979 peace deal and agreed for a Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) mission to monitor compliance.

The mission has historically been somewhat low-key, but in recent months attacks from ISIS jihadists have put forces on a state of constant high alert.

In September for instance, a roadside bombing injured six peacekeepers including four Americans.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said earlier on Tuesday that the Pentagon remains "fully committed" to the MFO mission but wants to use drones and other high-tech tools to assume some of the riskier work. 

"I don't think anyone is talking about a wholesale withdrawal, I think we are just going to look at the number of people we have there and see if there are functions that can be automated," Davis said.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/210796

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