Rice says Sudan should have no veto power over configuration of peacekeeping operations
[US Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice reiterated Washington's backing for a UN proposal to take over peacekeeping chores in Darfur from a cash-strapped African Union force and said perhaps NATO could expand on its current logistical help.
"I think that the Africans have always wanted this to be an African mission," she said. "Hopefully there are enough African forces that can contribute but I think we'll just need to talk to our allies and see what might be needed."
The chief US diplomat said the 7,000-strong AU force was doing a good job in trying to curb bloodshed in Sudan's western region but faces continuing violence and mounting tensions on the border with Chad.
"It is probably pretty close to the limits of what it can do in its current size and configuration and there are issues of how to sustain it," Rice said. "That's why we favor a UN mission which has a quality of sustainability."
But Rice made it clear that the Sudan authorities, whom Washington has accused of genocide in Darfur, should have no veto power over the configuration of peacekeeping operations.
Rice said a call would likely go out "pretty soon" for countries willing to contribute more to Darfur peacekeeping efforts and said discussions would be held on deepening NATO's role, perhaps in planning.
She said a UN mission would have more money as well as forces at its disposal but did not say what the United States was ready to commit in terms of financial support.
Photo: Dr Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Secretary of State (Reuters/ST)