SUDAN WATCH: UNHCR chief warns Security Council of much greater calamity in Darfur and calls for UN peacekeeping force in Darfur

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

UNHCR chief warns Security Council of much greater calamity in Darfur and calls for UN peacekeeping force in Darfur

China's People's Daily and Xinhuanet are covering news of the warning by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres. Excerpt:
Guterres told the Security Council the situation in Darfur has deteriorated over the past six months, saying that it will require bold measures and the full involvement of the African Union and the UN to avert the catastrophe.

"If we fail, if there is no physical protection for those in need of aid, the risk is a much greater calamity than what we have seen so far," he said. "I appeal to this body today in the strongest terms".
Associated Press Jan 24, 2006 quotes Mr Guterres as saying a large UN peacekeeping force is needed in Darfur if a "total humanitarian disaster" is to be avoided in the country's Darfur region.
"I do believe the Sudan-Chad situation is the most challenging humanitarian problem we face today in the world," Guterres said at a press conference following his Council appearance.
Unknown group of armed men attacked town of Guereda in Chad

Note the report says an unknown group of armed men attacked the town of Guereda in Chad this weekend, forcing the U.N. refugee agency to reduce its staff in eastern Chad.
Guterres told the Security Council that international pressure on Sudan is essential for a peace agreement to materialize in the country and to avoid the explosion of a wider crisis.

"This is crucial. The proof that this is crucial is that the instability in Darfur is very quickly having an impact in Chad," Guterres said. "We had to relocate part of our staff. We have 200,000 refugees on the Chad border. Military confrontation in that region would be a total humanitarian disaster."

But two weeks ago, Jan Pronk, the top UN envoy in Sudan, called for a force of as many as 20,000 troops to provide security in the vast and arid region.

The AU said it accepted the Pronk's call in principle and that its ministers would make a final decision at the end of March.

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