Good news of a proposal that's gaining momentum. AP report
by Alfred de Montesquiou 26 Sep 2006 - excerpt:
The UN and Sudan are discussing the deployment of UN military advisers to reinforce the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur, officials from both sides said Tuesday.
The Sudanese government's top official on Darfur, Majzoub al-Khalifa, said in an interview with The Associated Press that Sudan was willing to accept a compromise involving UN advisers.
"There is a third way. ... Why not let the UN place its men, command expertise and materiel at the service of the AU mission,'' al-Khalifa said.
Bahaa Elkoussy, a UN spokesman in Sudan, said the two sides were negotiating over sending UN advisers "to facilitate the deployment of the AU."
"There are ongoing discussions to provide the AU force with support, pending a future decision from the UN Security Council," he told the AP.
He would not elaborate. But other UN officials in Sudan, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks, said the proposal was to send more than 100 UN military advisers and dozens of police and civilians to reinforce the AU mission.
Elkoussy said UN personnel were ready to be sent to Darfur in the coming weeks "as soon as there is a solid agreement with the (Sudanese) government."
The AU confirmed Tuesday it was planning to send up to 4,000 more African peacekeepers to Darfur, though it lacks the gear and the cash to schedule their deployment.
"At least 1,300 troops are immediately available. We are negotiating with our partners for the funds to send them in," said Noureddine Mezni, the AU spokesman in Sudan.
The AU has had little effect in preventing atrocities in Darfur, but Mezni said this would change under the force's new "concept of operations," which sets out more robust tasks for the peacekeepers.