Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English)
9 Nov 2006 by Mina Al-Oraibi:
London, Asharq Al-Awsat- A high-ranking British diplomat acknowledged yesterday that if Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir continues to refuse the deployment of UN forces in Darfur then the UN Security Council (UNSC) cannot force him to do so "or occupy Sudan." He added that the "international community must in this case shoulder the responsibility and assist the African Union (AU) to broaden the mission of its forces there."
The diplomat, who spoke to Asharq al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, stressed that "the Sudanese Government is responsible for the deterioration in Darfur and the UN cannot be held responsible for that." But in his answer to a question on whether this means taking measures against the Sudanese Government for its refusal to deploy international forces, the diplomat stated, "In this case, the international community will be compelled to shoulder its responsibilities and assist the AU to broaden its mission."
Speaking at a meeting with a group of Arab and Iranian correspondents yesterday, the British diplomat also affirmed that "The AU has done a good job but the challenge is greater than what its forces can control." He recalled that the AU has not been asked for a military operation of this size since its establishment and added, In addition to the international forces' expertise in this matter, the UN Security Council (UNSC) is seeking to deploy UN forces that do not require a special budget but rather (finance it) from the budget allocated for the UN peacekeeping operations. He added that the UNSC is trying to persuade the Sudanese president to accept the international forces before 24 November, the date for the AU's meeting to discuss a renewal of its forces' mission in Sudan. He noted British Prime Minister Tony Blair's willingness to attend a "meeting of leaders to discuss this issue."