Monday, March 20, 2006

NATO ready to help UN in Darfur - What happened to NATO supporting African Union Mission in Darfur?

Last May, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer flew to an international conference in Ethiopia with an offer of logistical support for the African Union's bid to widen its peacekeeping mission in Darfur and urged Sudan not to hinder AU mission - see Sudan Watch entry 25 May 2005 - excerpt:
"On Tuesday, the NATO allies said they stood ready to provide non-combat aid for the AU's beleaguered peacekeeping force in Darfur, approving "initial military options" for logistical NATO support. The EU has similarly agreed to offer assistance in the form of military transport, training and planning.

Last week, AU Commission President Alpha Oumar Konare asked both the EU and NATO for help.

De Hoop Scheffer stressed the AU -- not NATO -- would be running the Darfur operation.

The EU has already sent military advisers to help the AU mission and is spending US $116 million to cover almost half the costs of the operation."
NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Photo: NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

Not sure what happened to above offer but today Associated Press reported NATO is ready to help UN in Darfur NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told President Bush in a White House visit Monday, 20 March 2006.

So what happened to NATO supporting the AU mission in Darfur, after the AU asked both the EU and NATO for help last year?

Mar 7 2006 NATO rules out troop presence in Darfur

Mar 1 2006 UN says NATO-led force in Darfur would be 'recipe for disaster'

Feb 17 2006 US President, NATO Secretary General discuss Darfur

Feb 14 2006 NATO ready to help in Darfur, but not with troops

Feb 6 2006 US urges NATO to help in Darfur - Russia offers 200 peacekeepers and helicopter strike force as part of UN's Darfur mission

Update: (Bloomberg) Mar 20 2006 article excerpt: NATO can take a role once the AU requests its security force be converted to a UN mission, Bush said at the White House after meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Once that's done, he said, "NATO can move in with US help within -- inside of NATO -- to make it clear to the Sudanese government that we're intent upon providing security for the people there, and intent upon helping work toward a lasting peace agreement." [hat tip CfD]
- - -

UN Security Council Meeting 21 March 2006

Note this excerpt from a report by the UN Security Council on its meeting held 21 March 2006 - published at ReliefWeb on the same date:
In his monthly report on Darfur, the Secretary-General observes that it would be erroneous to characterize any transition to the United Nations as a substitution of an "African" force by an "international" force, pointing out that the current AMIS is already an international force, operating under an African Union mandate, with the endorsement of the Security Council, and the participation of troops and personnel from more than 29 countries. Similarly, a United Nations-led operation would depend greatly on African contributions and support, as well as those of other contributors. In any event, United Nations efforts are, and would remain, part of a cooperative international approach. At the same time, a possible successor operation would have to be qualitatively different from the current African Union operation, particularly with regard to force mobility.

No comments: