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British official criticizes UN peacekeepers for sexual abuse

LONDON — British Defense Minister Michael Fallon says sexual exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers must be eliminated.

Fallon addressed the opening session Thursday of a U.N. conference on increasing peacekeeping contributions and improving the performance of the troops who participate. Defense ministers from 80 countries are attending, including U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.

Fallon said the U.N. needs to improve planning for peacekeeping, get more troop contributions and improve their performance.

Fallon cited “shocking examples of poor performance” by peacekeepers. He didn’t give details but said he was referring to cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by some peacekeeping troops.

On the subject of bringing sexual abuse by peacekeepers to an end, Carter said the Pentagon was ready to help.

“The Defense Department, leveraging our own recent experience trying to rid our force of the scourge of sexual assault, is offering to help enable the U.N.’s National Investigative Officers and improve training to prevent sexual exploitation and other conduct and discipline issues,” Carter said during the conference.

READ MORE: More allegations of sexual abuse by peacekeeping soldiers come to light in Central African Republic

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