Sudan warns participation in Darfur UN forces is hostile act
Sudan on Wednesday warned African and Arab countries against contributing troops to a proposed UN peacekeeping force for war-torn Darfur, saying doing so would be seen as "a hostile act."- - -
The warning came in a letter sent Tuesday by the Sudan's UN mission to all African and Arab missions here.
In the letter, Sudan restated its "total rejection" of the deployment of up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers as mandated by the Security Council in late August to shore up the fragile Darfur peace agreement.
"In the absence of Sudan's consent to the deployment of UN troops, any volunteering to provide peacekeeping troops to Darfur will be considered as a hostile act, a prelude to an invasion of a member country of the UN," it added.
The letter noted that Khartoum "fully supports" the African Union (AU)'s decision to extend the mandate of its cash-strapped 7,200-strong force in Darfur for three months until December 31 after receiving promises of financial and logistical support from the United Nations and Arab states.
The AU said last month it would boost its contingent in Darfur to 11,000 troops and the UN agreed to send 105 staff officers and technical experts to bolster the AU force there.
Also last month, the Security Council unanimously agreed to extend the mandate of the 12,273-strong UN force in southern Sudan for two weeks until October 8 and boosting it to up to 20,000 so that it could be shifted to Darfur.
In Khartoum earlier Wednesday, the Sudanese foreign ministry sounded a conciliatory note.
"Sudan's rejection of the resolution does not imply that the country wants a confrontation with the UN or defiance of the international community," ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadek told SUNA.
"The contacts that have been made and those yet to be made all lie in the context of efforts to find a way out of Sudan's rejection of the resolution in view of the insistence by some countries on implementing it," he added, in an apparent allusion to Britain and the United States.
And Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir gave his approval Wednesday for the UN offer of logistical support to the AU force in Darfur.
Also, see Oct 4 2006 report - Sudan's Bashir says if the international community insists on UN peacekeepers in Darfur, then Sudan has to choose confrontation.