AU explains slow progress in deploying full Darfur Sudan mission by year-end
Jonah Fisher of BBC News Khartoum explains the year-end target for Darfur troops.
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Note, according to the above, the new head of the African Union observer mission to Sudan said he is hopeful that they will have completed deployment by the end of the year. Baba Gana Kingibe, a former Nigerian foreign minister, arrived in Khartoum on Saturday to take over control of the observer mission in Darfur.
It seems much longer ago than six weeks since the African Union voted to increase its mission to Darfur. Deployment has been slow. Less than one third of its planned mission of 3,300 troops are in place. Mainly Rwandan and Nigerian observers have arrived.
Speaking in Khartoum, Mr Kingibe said more troops would reach the area soon. "We have taken measures three days ago to speed up this and we have established certain timelines," he said. "By the end of December we should have all the complements of the troops on the ground."
According to Mr Kingibe, both the funding and the troops for the mission are now ready - it is just a question of the American contractors building enough camps to house them.
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VIEWS OF NEW AU MISSION CHIEF FOR DARFUR
On his arrival in Sudan, AU mission chief Baba Gana Kingibe said that a joint declaration of principles should be signed within the first two weeks of Darfur peace talks, due to reconvene in the Nigerian capital Abuja around December 10.
"We expect that before long within a week or two the declaration of principles which was negotiated and largely agreed upon will be finalised and signed," Kingibe, a former Nigerian foreign minister, told reporters in Khartoum.
"We believe that early in the new year we will be making a robust approach towards inching to a final peace deal."
Kingibe, who was the AU's special envoy to south Sudan, where a separate war has raged for more than two decades, said a peace deal for the south would help solve the Darfur conflict when the southern rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), joins the post-peace central government in Khartoum.
"A deal in the south will also involve the participation of the SPLM in the government of national unity in Khartoum and I am sure that they will make their contributions to perhaps approaching more creatively the solutions to the other problems facing the country," he said.
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GERMANY APPROVES DARFUR MISSION
At long last, the German parliament unanimously agreed Friday to provide up to 200 troops to help transport AU soldiers into Darfur. December 5 report by Deutsche Welle says German soldiers will not be based in Darfur and that Germany will use two of its military transport planes to fly Tanzanian African Union troops into Darfur from Tanzania and a third plane will be put on standby. Around 760 troops from Rwanda and Nigeria are already in Darfur having been transported by France and the United States.
The international community must not allow "a genocide in slow motion" to take place in Darfur, Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul told the German parliament.
Germany has set aside €2.25 million ($2.9 million) for aid for Darfur out of the European Union total of €92 million.
AU EXPLAINS SLOW PROGRESS
A report by Reuters yesterday says the African Union has been slowly increasing its force in Darfur toward a 3,300-strong contingent with a stronger mandate which includes monitoring a shaky April cease-fire, monitoring Sudanese police and limited powers to protect civilians:
"AU mission chief Baba Gana Kingibe said the slow progress was not because of lack of funding or difficulties in finding suitable troops.
"It is better that we synchronize the deployment of the troops to the availability of facilities on the ground. We are working on how we can speed up the provision of infrastructure on the ground to the deployment of the troops," he said.
"I think that by December 15 we should have quite a number of troops in. By the end of December we should have all the complements of the troops on the ground," he said." [Full Story]