AU expects 10,000 peacekeepers in Darfur - Head of UN peacekeeping travels to Sudan - AU to meet rebels objecting to their leader's rejection of peace
"Before the UN actually takes over the African Mission in Sudan needs to be reinforced and we will be working together to make sure AMIS is reinforced," Britain's UN ambassador, Emyr Jones Parry, said after a meeting with Alpha Oumar Konare, chairman of the AU commission.UPDATE: Jun 7 2006 AP report via Sudan Tribune - African Union agrees UN takeover of Darfur peacekeeping: Djinnat said several battalions are likely to be added to the AU force. "I can tell you that it could be raised to the level of 10,000," he told The Associated Press.
Konare, according to a council member at the meeting, expected more troops from Ghana, Rwanda and Nigeria to make a total of 10,000 soldiers and observers in Darfur. He also wants back-up support, such as transport and communications, from NATO countries.
However, Konare stressed he did not want Western soldiers on the ground, which Sudanese officials regard as invaders, one envoy reported, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Jones Parry said the AU reinforcements were needed for a tougher mandate to protect civilians, agreed in the peace pact negotiated by the AU in Abuja, Nigeria.
Konare told reporters he would like UN peacekeepers in Darfur as soon as possible but only after permission from the Sudanese government.
He said was "indeed confident" that this would happen, adding that the African Union and the United Nations were in full agreement on how to proceed.
Sudan has agreed to a military planning team comprising UN and AU officials.
Undersecretary-General Jean-Marie Guehenno, head of UN peacekeeping, begins his mission at AU headquarters on Wednesday before heading to Sudan.
The AU is expected to hold a high-level meeting in Gabon later this month to discuss Darfur and on Thursday is expected to meet members of rebel groups who object to their leaders' rejection of the peace pact.
A member of the Security Council delegation echoed the 10,000 figure and said the additional troops would likely come from Rwanda, Nigeria and Ghana, and that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would likely provide helicopters and other logistical support. The AU police force in Darfur will also likely be doubled from about 1,000 to 2,000, the council delegate said.