SUDAN WATCH: Benn calls for UN force in Darfur

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Benn calls for UN force in Darfur

BBC report 22 Feb 2006 quotes Hilary Benn, who arrived in Darfur yesterday, as saying "We have to step up the international effort here in Darfur." He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme (see link in earlier entry here below):
"The security situation has deteriorated compared with last June when I was last here in El-Fasher.

"The rebels have been responsible for an increasing proportion of the attacks. The Arab militia are still at work.

"It really reinforces the point that we have to step up the international effort here in Darfur."
Note, the UN plan for an expanded peacekeeping force has been opposed by Sudan who said funding should go to the AU troops already there. Khartoum does not appear to want to understand that UN peacekeepers are paid from UN funds and AU troops are paid for by donors.

Khartoum ought to ask its Arab and African neighbours for double the amount of 10 million pounds it costs donors each month for African Union troops in Darfur. Sudan and chums insist on 'African solutions to African problems' but their solution appears to consist of eliminating people who get in the way. What exactly are Khartoum's other solutions, can anyone explain? Why aren't Arab tribal leaders attending Darfur peace talks?

Recently, Sudan spent 15m pounds on villas for a two-day African Union summit in Khartoum and who knows how much on two new presidential boats.

On 14 Jan 2006 UN envoy Jan Pronk called for up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers to disarm militias in Darfur and admitted peace strategy to halt "cleansing in Darfur" had failed.

Also, on Jan 14 news reports said British troops may join UN Darfur force as the UN is to ask Britain to provide troops for a beefed-up peacekeeping force. 13 Jan 2006 British military sources said that Britain would actively consider such a request.


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