SUDAN WATCH: AU Darfur force asked for more equipment - has no funds beyond mid October

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

AU Darfur force asked for more equipment - has no funds beyond mid October

Ethiopian Herald report Aug 15, 2006 - excerpt:
According to a report filed by Reuters from Khartoum AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said that a donor pledging conference in July provided some 181 million USD for the mission.

"This money will suffice only until mid-October so far," he said, adding he hoped donors would come through.

The AU mission costs just under 40 million USD a month to run, but in order to do the job properly the AU also asked for more equipment like attack helicopters.

UN officials said without additional funding, almost 3.6 million Darfuris could see a period where troops were withdrawn or unable to work to deter rape, murder and pillage in Sudan's remote west.

The top U.N. envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said many people including Western nations thought the AU force could stay in Darfur until the end of the year.

"That is a misconception and that's extremely risky," he told reporters in Khartoum.

"If the African Union have to leave because they cannot pay their soldiers anymore and the United Nations is not being allowed to come ... then you have a void in between," he added.

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