Friday, October 27, 2006

Genocide Intervention Network calls for strong support for AU in Darfur

Genocide Intervention Network (GIF) argues for strong support for interim African Union peacekeepers and expanded UN Force. - ST 26 Oct 2006 - excerpt:
In July, Dr. Frazer [UN Assistant Sec for African Affairs] told a Darfur donors conference in Brussels that the United States "has been proactive in providing assistance" to the African Union and claimed, "a successful resolution to the situation in Darfur is one of the highest foreign policy priorities for President Bush." Yet she failed to follow this rhetoric with any pledge of new funds for the African Union - misleadingly claiming funds already appropriated by Congress were a new contribution.

"Unlike her earlier statements, we hope in this case Dr. Frazer's rhetoric will be followed by action and concrete support for the peacekeepers," says GI-Net Executive Director Mark Hanis. "At least $240 million from the United States alone will be required to support this vital firebreak against genocide," Hanis adds. "This is nearly four times current US funding for the African Union peacekeepers."

Even once the government of Sudan allows the UN peacekeeping force to expand from Southern Sudan into Darfur, a UN force will still take six to nine months to be mobilized.

"The African Union peacekeepers must be strongly supported through the interim - yet the current budget only supports six weeks of AU operations," Hanis says.

The European Union is also an integral part of the funding for AU peacekeepers, having donated $307 million this year, and the Arab League has pledged to help fund the peacekeeping effort as well.
Note, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has some 10,250 uniformed personnel currently serving in southern Sudan. In August 2006, the UN Security Council extended UNMIS mandate to include a further 17,050 peacekeepers - making a total of 27,300. The mandate for the AU Mission in Darfur (AMIS) expires 31 Dec 2006, which is why donor funding does not extend beyond the next six weeks. By the end of this year, donors - including Arab League countries - will be asked to support AMIS with a new strengthened mandate that Sudan said it would welcome.

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