Annan and Bashir agree on need to strengthen AU mission in Darfur and to consolidate the Darfur Peace Agreement
Mr Annan expressed confidence that UN troops will one day deploy in Darfur and said he is meantime working on extending the presence of the AU force in Darfur until the end of the year, Daily Telegraph reported July 3, 2006:
Mr Annan said continuing discussions with Khartoum on the deployment of international peacekeepers could yield positive results.
"We are dealing with a leader who might have genuine difficulties and genuine reasons for the position he is taking ... but I think we had constructive conversation this morning," he said.
"I, of course, continue to press for the eventual deployment of UN forces in Darfur ... (and) we agree (with al-Beshir) the dialogue has to continue," Mr Annan said.
He said the planning for deployment "is very well advanced ... we do hope still to deploy the troops."
He said Mr al-Beshir had promised to submit to him before the end of July his "plan for the next six months" on easing the crisis in Darfur.
Meantime Mr Annan asked the African leaders at the AU summit in Gambia to maintain "flexibility" over their original plan to pull their forces out of Darfur by September 30.
In talks with Mr al-Beshir, Mr Annan said they "agreed on the immediate need to strengthen the African Union mission in Darfur and also to consolidate the Darfur peace agreement."
Photo: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan (C) is applauded July 01 at the opening session of an African Union summit of more than 50 African heads of state. (AFP/File/Issouf Sanogo)