SUDAN WATCH: Sudan accepts joint AU-UN Darfur force : UN Security Council 15-member 7-day visit starting June 15, 2007 Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Ivory Coast

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sudan accepts joint AU-UN Darfur force : UN Security Council 15-member 7-day visit starting June 15, 2007 Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Ivory Coast

Great, let's hope it's true. Sudan has agreed to a revised AU-UN plan for a joint AU-UN peacekeeping force to be sent to Darfur. Under the revised plan, the AU will run day-to-day operations, while the UN is expected to have overall control of between 17,000 to 19,000 peacekeepers.

Today, AP news agency quotes Said Djinnit, the AU's top peace and security official, as saying:
"In view of the explanation and clarification provided by the AU and the UN as contained in the presentation, the government of Sudan accepted the joint proposals on the hybrid operation."
The BBC's Elizabeth Blunt in Addis Ababa says the mood was cheerful at the AU headquarters after the announcement was made. Full report (BBC).
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June 12, 2007 - TEXT- Conclusions of AU-UN, Sudan on the Hybrid Operations

June 12, 2007 - AFP report - Sudan accepts AU-UN force in Darfur

June 12, 2007 - Alex de Waal commentary Time to get serious
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UN Security Council 15-member delegation 7-day visit starting June 15, 2007 Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa and Abidjan, Ivory Coast

From June 4, 2007 dpa report:
A United Nations Security Council delegation beginning in mid-June will visit five African capitals, including Khartoum and Kinshasa, for talks on settling conflicts there, the council president Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke said Monday. The 15-member delegation arrive in Accra on June 15 and then travel to Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Kinshasa and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
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Sudan tells France it prefers AU/UN peace efforts

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Photo: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, right, meets Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, left, for talks on Darfur on Monday June 11, 2007 in Khartoum, Sudan. Ending a five-day tour in Africa, Kouchner, a co-founder of the international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, appeared to use his clout as a prominent humanitarian figure to boost France's role in helping solve the Darfur crisis. Kouchner appealed to the Sudanese president and other top officials on Monday to allow a hybrid U.N. and African operation into Darfur to ease the humanitarian suffering in the war-torn Sudanese region. (AP Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou)

Also, from AP report "Sudan, France discuss Darfur force" (via China Daily June 12, 2007):
The French minister's talks with al-Bashir appeared unusually cordial, and the two men embraced and joked in front of the cameras at the start of their meeting.

As a humanitarian worker, Kouchner often operated clandestinely in southern Sudan during a separate civil war there, building ties with several former southern rebels who now hold government positions in Khartoum.

"We are very glad to greet you officially in Sudan now," al-Bashir told Kouchner, adding that their relationship went "back a long way."
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