Despite Sudan's resistance of pressure from world powers this week to accept a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur to replace an African Union force, leaders at a conference in Brussels are optimistic of a Khartoum change of heart, reports African News Dimension today, quoting Guardian newspapers as its source, in an article entitled World powers optimistic on UN force for Darfur
"To protect innocent lives in Darfur, we need an international peacekeeping operation with the capability to address the complexity of the challenges," US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer said.
Frazer said the US still hoped for a transition to the UN at the end of September and would otherwise not extend financial support after that date.
Note, People's Daily Online/Xinhua July 19, 2006 - EU foreign policy chief says Sudanese government closer to change of position on UN mission in Darfur
A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday that Akol was not traveling to Brussels to give a nod to a UN mission.
The leaders are meeting in Brussels to discuss the security situation in the war-torn Darfur region and the implementation of a fragile peace agreement. Donors are also expected to pledge support for the AU mission in Darfur, both financially and in technology and logistics.
U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Jendayi Frazer, said her country is ready to give assurances to the Sudanese government on the nature of the UN mission.
"We try to give some assurances to President (Omar Hassan) Bashir -- through his foreign minister -- about what the intent of a UN mission would be," she told the same press conference.
She met separately with Akol in the morning.
"I think it's important that we also be transparent with the government of Sudan and explain what our intension is ... There is no hidden agenda here. There is no ulterior motive."
She said the goal of the UN mission is to support and protect civilian lives in the region and allow the displaced to return to normal life. "We are there and we want a capable force given the complexity of the challenges."
See July 21 2006 - New funding for AMIS keeps it afloat until Sept. What then?