SUDAN WATCH: "The idea of UN peacekeepers supporting an African Union mission would be something that has never been done before" says UN's Head of Peacekeeping

Friday, June 23, 2006

"The idea of UN peacekeepers supporting an African Union mission would be something that has never been done before" says UN's Head of Peacekeeping

June 23, 2006 Sudan Tribune unsourced article - excerpt:
"There is a risk of major violence," the UN head of peacekeeping, Jean-Marie Gehenno, told reporters at the end of a two-week assessment mission to Darfur. "The risk of fragmentation, of a new cycle of violence, after the rainy season, is quite real, very real." [Sudan Watch Ed: Makes one wonder if the rebels will create even more violence just to get UN troops onside]

Gehenno, the AU's peace commissioner Said Djinnit, and about 40 officials from both organizations were mandated by the UN Security Council to study the prospects for replacing the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur by a larger, better equipped UN force. They held hundreds of meetings in the western Sudan region.

The AU force needs "a more robust mandate, but also more robust support from the United Nations," the AU's Djinnit said at the press conference with Gehenno.

"The UN is not in the business of colonizing any country," Gehenno said Thursday, a day after he met al-Bashir.

"As long as the government of Sudan does not accept a (UN) mission, there will not be one. It's as simple as that," he said.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that he hoped al-Bashir would change his mind. "The talks continue, and I hope ultimately we will be able to convince them to accept a UN force," Annan told reporters in Geneva.

Gehenno said the immediate priority was to support the AU troops in Darfur, and hinted this could be the door to the UN's entry. "The idea of UN peacekeepers supporting an African Union mission would be something that has never been done before," he said.

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