Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bashir: Sudan has no objection to more AU troops, strengthening mandate, or receiving logistical support from EU, UN or AL

Sudan's President Bashir has no objection to more troops and a stronger AMIS mandate with logistical support from EU, UN, AL, and says there would be "integrated police units" to protect and help IDPs return home. See Angola Press news report entitled ENGLAND: Sudan open to AU peacekeepers increase, refusing UN troops: president:
LONDON, 10/25 - Sudan has "no objection" to the increase of the number of African Union (AU) peacekeepers in the troubled Darfur region, but will refuse any UN troops, warning that such a move would become "part of the conflict."

Sudan has "no objection to the AU increasing its troops, strengthening its mandate, or receiving logistical support from the EU, the UN, or the Arab League for that matter," Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir said in an interview published in The Guardian on Wednesday.

However, the president said that foreign troops imposed by the United Nations in Darfur could lead to "such troops becoming the target of attacks and part of the conflict, not the solution."

He also urged Britain and the United States to stop "applying pressure (on Sudan) the way it is being done now -- to the wrong party at the wrong time."

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Aug. 31 calling for the deployment of more than 20,000 international peacekeepers to replace the underfunded 7,800 AU forces in Darfur.

But the Sudanese government has rejected the mission transfer, saying it was a violation of Sudan's sovereignty and an effort by the West to re-colonize the African oil producing country.

Sudan, a Muslim-dominated nation with nearly 40 percent of its population Arabs, is located in north Africa and is a member state of both the pan-Arab forum and the African Union.

In Sudan's western region of Darfur, rebel groups took up arms against the government in early 2003, accusing Khartoum of marginalizing the region.

Last month, the AU Peace and Security Council decided to extend the mandate of the 7,800-strong AU forces in Darfur to Dec. 31, calling on Arab countries and the international community to provide necessary help for the forces.

The president also noted that there would be "integrated police units" to protect the displaced people affected by the conflict, and to help them to return home.

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