Nov 10 2006 AP report via OR UN council sending group to Ethiopia
by Alexandra Olson, AP Writer:
The U.N. Security Council U.N. Security Council is sending a delegation to a key African Union meeting with Sudan on Monday with a message that it still backs the U.N. takeover of peacekeeping in conflict-wracked Darfur, the council president said Thursday.
Sudanese and AU officials are starting a series of meetings in Ethiopia's capital on Monday to discuss the future of the 7,000-member AU force, whose mandate expires on Dec. 31.
"The purpose of this mission is to have a dialogue conducive to the implementation of Resolution 1706," which was adopted on Aug. 31 and authorizes the U.N. takeover of peacekeeping efforts, he said after the council discussed the mission late Thursday.
He said the delegation will be led by Britain, whose U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry led a Security Council mission to Sudan and neighboring Chad in June. Hedi Annabi, the assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, left for Sudan on Thursday for talks with the Sudanese government ahead of the meeting, said U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Sudan's U.N. ambassador made clear his country would not accept any U.N. participation beyond the material and logistical support to the AU forces.
"(U.N.) forces will not be accepted in anyway. No blue helmets, only African Union forces, expanded, intensified, enhanced, augmented through the support of the United Nations ," said Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the United Nations wanted to go beyond the $22 million support package approved for the AU mission "to ensure that we do have an effective force on the ground."