Sunday, April 10, 2005

India to send peacekeeping force next month to police southern Darfur, Sudan

During the past several months, there has been a few snippets of news re Indian peacekeepers being prepared for Sudan. Finally, today there is news of a date.

A report from New Delhi April 10 says India will soon become the foremost contributor to the UNs peacekeeping force when it despatches next month a brigade-level group to Sudan. Excerpt:
The Indian Army brigade group bound for Sudan would include two infantry battalions and some mechanised columns, officials said. They would police Sudan's southern Darfur region.

India contributing to the UN peacekeeping force in Sudan assumes significance as its oil flagship ONGC Videsh Limited is operating a producing oil field in southern Sudan and has also taken stake in two exploration blocks there. Protection of the state assets form part of the peacekeeping mandate in Sudan and the officials pointed out that the Indian deployment was being done on request from the the UN Secretary General.
The Indian Minister of State for External Affairs will lead a delegation to the Donors' Conference on Sudan to be held in Oslo Monday, the Indo-Asian NewsService reported on Saturday.

Also today, AFP news says the US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick was expected Monday to announce 1.8 billion dollars (1.39 billion euros) in aid to the Sudan at the conference before visiting Sudan. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the conference would also focus on curbing violence in Darfur.

"Through his participation in the Donors Conference and visit to Sudan, the Deputy Secretary will emphasize the need for the Sudanese parties to move ahead with implementation of the peace accord, as well as to end violence in Darfur," Boucher said.

Khartoum and the SPLM hope the north-south peace model can be used to bring peace to Darfur.
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Cameroonian police for Darfur peacekeeping mission

Here is some good news via YAOUNDE, Cameroon, Apr 8, 2005 (PANA) -- Forty-nine Cameroonian police officers left here Friday for Darfur, western Sudan, to join the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in the troubled East African nation.

Top government officials, police authorities and family members attended an official send-off ceremony organised at the Police Academy here. Police authorities said the Cameroonian officers were fluent speakers of French and English.

They constitute the sixth contingent of Cameroonian police to participate in UN and AU peacekeeping missions. Cameroonian cops have taken up missions in Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Kosovo and DR Congo.
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Chadian soldiers guard the border with Sudan
Photo: Chadian soldiers guard the border with Sudan. (AFP/file).

Sudan denies presence of Chadian rebels in its territory

The Sudanese ambassador was summoned by the Chadian Foreign Ministry and was told that the Chadian government has received information about existence of 3,000 armed Chadians from the opposition who are stationed close to Al-Junaynah region in western Sudan with the knowledge of the Sudanese government, and who are expected to enter Chad. Full Story April 10, Sudan Tribune.

Note, Khartoum said it would investigate the accusations but said it was a "a misunderstanding" that could be cleared through official channels. "We are not going to meet the good deeds of the Chadian government by bad deeds and ingratitude," senior ruling party official Hassan Bargo said, referring to Chadian efforts in mediating the peace process in Sudan.

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