Bashir-Moussa meeting centered on reinforcing AMIS with Arab-African forces in addition to UN logistical and material support
Oct 3 2006 AFP report via ReliefWeb - Sudan open to dialogue with UN over Darfur:
Sudan continues to opposes deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force to war-torn Darfur but is open to discussing UN support for an African Union force already there, an official said Tuesday.
"The Sudanese government is sticking to its position of rejecting UN Security Council Resolution 1706 but does not reject dialogue with the UN because the Sudan is a member of the organisation," said presidential press Secretary Mahjub Fadul Bedry.
The Sudanese government has come under mounting pressure to agree to the deployment of up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers as mandated by Resolution 1706 to replace weak, underfunded African Union (AU) troops, but President Omar al-Beshir has repeatedly rejected any such deployment.
Bedry was speaking after a meeting in Khartoum of Beshir with Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa and Foreign Minister Lam Akol, during which Akol handed Beshir a message from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
He said Annan's message contained "a plan for backing African Union forces in Darfur with logistics, equipment and consultative expertise."
The Khartoum government, Bedry said, "is seeking a way out of the crisis the UN put itself in with the Sudan."
He added: "We support any effort that can assist the African mission in carrying out its duties of keeping peace and sponsoring the Abuja agreement." That was a reference to a peace deal signed between Khartoum and one of the rebel groups in Darfur.
Bedry described Annan's message as good, adding that Beshir would respond positively.
Bedry said Mussa had pledged to continue efforts for rallying support to the African Union and its forces. The Beshir-Mussa meeting "centered on improving the situation in Darfur and reinforcing the AU mission with Arab-African forces in addition to UN logistical and material support."
He explained that those reiforcements should hail from Arab countries in Africa.
Mussa arrived in Khartoum late Monday. Earlier Tuesday he conferred with Akol on the developments in the Darfur crisis.
"The talks also covered the Arab position towards the current issues as well as the Arab League programmes and meetings as the Sudan is the president of the current Arab summit," Mussa said after his meeting with Akol.
"President Beshir is planning to launch a comprehensive initiative in the coming period for reactivating cooperation with the United Nations and the African Union for implementation and expansion of the Abuja umbrella," he said.
Commenting on a suggestion for deploying Arab-Muslim troops in Darfur, Mussa said: "It is left to the Sudan to decide on whether to accept or turn down this proposal."
He said his visit to Sudan came as part of an Arab diplomatic drive for dealing with the international position towards the situation in Darfur and finding a way out of the problem which "is aggravated by time due to the erroneous information reported about it."
The Arab League Secretary General reiterated his commitment to "absolute cooperation between the Arab League and the African Union for finding a comprehensive settlement to the Darfur issue and achieving stability in the region."