"African Union Plus"
President may withdraw deadline for African Union peacekeepers to leave
Sudan is expected to withdraw its deadline for African Union peacekeepers to leave the war-torn western region of Darfur at the end of this month, when AU foreign ministers discuss the mounting crisis in New York today, according to senior officials in Khartoum.UPDATE: Re AU Security Council meeting 18 Sep to consider AMIS mandate. Meeting will now "possibly" take place later in the week, South Africa's Foreign Ministry said 18 Sep 2006.
Sources in Khartoum now say the government is willing to let the African Union remain in Darfur, and accept some changes in its powers. "It is likely we will arrive at an extension of the African Union mandate when the ministers meet in New York. There seems to be a common interest. It will give time for all sides to find a way out of this," Ghazi Salahuddin Atabani, a senior presidential adviser, told the Guardian yesterday. The government wants to explore what it calls "African Union Plus", a plan to keep the AU troops but give them extra back-up in the form of helicopters and surveillance technology from western states.