SUDAN WATCH: Blair meets with Konare at Number 10 to talk about Darfur: Joint statement issued re formal request from AU to NATO

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Blair meets with Konare at Number 10 to talk about Darfur: Joint statement issued re formal request from AU to NATO

Tony Blair met with European Commission President Barroso in Downing Street today, before holding talks with the chair of the African Union, Alpha Konare.

The PM invited Mr Konare to Number 10 to talk about the vital Darfur peace agreement, before speaking to journalists.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said the peace agreement signed earlier this month was a "triumph" for the African Union.

PM Africasss.jpg

"It is good for the people of Darfur and brings the real prospect of peace. President Konare and I strongly urge other rebels to sign (it) before the AU's deadline of 31 May."

See transcript of their joint doorstep - Joint press conference with Alpha Konare 24 May

Copy of Joint Statement

The UK has been working to support the African Union's successful work in Darfur over the last two years. The African Union Monitoring Mission in Darfur has improved security within a very difficult environment indeed. The Darfur Peace Agreement signed earlier this month was a triumph for the African Union. It is good for the people of Darfur and brings the real prospect of peace.

President Konare and I strongly urge other rebels to sign the Agreement before the AU's deadline of 31 May. If they do not do so, and they impede the implementation of the Agreement, then the AU and the UN have agreed that sanctions should be applied to them.

We call on the Government of Sudan to respect the recent decisions of the AU and the UN Security Council and agree to allow a UN technical assessment mission to enter Darfur in order to plan for a transition from the current AU force in Darfur into a UN peacekeeping mission.

President Konare and I have been discussing today how the UK can further assist the AU in implementation of the Peace Agreement, bilaterally and as a member of NATO and the EU.

The AU has said that is wants to strengthen its force in Darfur in order to implement the Peace Agreement. African nations are considering what additional troops they can provide.

The UK has committed a further GBP 20 million to the mission, bringing our total contribution to over GBP 52 million.

The EU and NATO, through airlift co-ordination and training, have made a valuable support contribution to the AU mission. We stand ready to do more.

NATO has offered to provide substantial support to the AU to help strengthen its effectiveness throughout Darfur. President Konare and I have discussed this and I hope that a formal request will be coming from the AU to NATO shortly, to enable this assistance to be provided as soon as possible.
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Darfur needs UN peacekeeping force within two months, official says

British officials said a small NATO delegation could be sent to Darfur to provide leadership, support and airlift capability for African Union troops before the arrival of a UN force, Pravda reported May 23, 2006.

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