Friday, June 16, 2006

France would join any international operation in Chad - UK says camps in Chad need police protection

Reuters report by Evelyn Leopold June 16, 2006. Excerpts:
France asked the United Nations on Thursday to consider ways to protect refugee camps in Chad, where rebels forcibly recruit Darfur survivors of murderous attacks by Sudanese militia.

France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de la Sabliere and his British counterpart, Emyr Jones Parry, addressed the U.N. Security Council on the 15-member body's recent trip to Sudan and Chad, aimed at convincing the Khartoum government to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force in its western region of Darfur.

"It is appropriate for the secretary-general (Kofi Annan) to consider this question of international protection of the camps and make recommendations to us," de la Sabliere told the council. "Personally I can only see advantages of this."

He did not elaborate on what kind of protection, such as troops, police or guards, he had in mind.

Chadian president Idriss Deby had told the diplomats, after they visited camps near Goz Beida, about 60 miles (100 km) from the Sudan border, that he was unable to care for the homeless and asked for international help.

"If nothing is done in this area, we will see a deterioration in all respects," de la Sabliere said.

France, which has about 1,000 airmen stationed in its former colony, has said it would not provide protection for the Chadian camps but would join any international operation.

Jones Parry, during the visit, was more noncommittal about U.N. security for Chad, saying the camps needed police protection rather than the kind of U.N. troops envisioned for Darfur.

Jones Parry said that Sudan's President Omar Hassan Bashir made "clear that he did not think external troops should be mandated to attack Sudanese."

"We looked to them to fulfill that responsibility now."

The Khartoum government, however, has not accepted U.N. peacekeepers for Darfur and has objected to a robust mandate the council wants so the troops can protect civilians.

However, Jones Parry said, "By the end of our visit, the mission felt we had edged further toward the probability of the government accepting a U.N. force."

Tanzanian ambassador, Augustine Mahiga, noted that the African Union, now fielding troops in Darfur, firmly supported U.N. peacekeepers and was "waiting for expeditious deployment."

The council mission, from June 5 to June 12, went to Khartoum, Darfur, Juba, the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to talk to African Union officials, and visited refugee camps in Chad as well as the capital, N'Djamena. The trip ended in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
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Jun 15 2006 Sudan Tribune and LA Times - Sudan seeks France help to restore relations with Chad - FM

Jun 15 2006 UN press release and UN News Centre report - UN Security Council told that Sudan Government is closer to agreeing on UN Darfur force

Jun 15 2006 UN and Reuters - International Criminal Court Prosecutor briefs UN Security Council on Darfur, says will not draw conclusions on genocide until investigation complete

Jun 16 2006 BBC - UN moves to transfer Taylor trial

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