Friday, November 17, 2006

Sudan accepts UN 'help' in Darfur but no talk about a mixed force or UN taking command

Nov 17 2006 BBC report - excerpt:
Sudan says it welcomes the United Nations' support for the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur but denies the UN will take command.

On Thursday, UN chief Kofi Annan had said a compromise had been reached for a hybrid UN-AU force, to break the deadlock over the Darfur mission.

President Omar al-Bashir told state TV: "The government of Sudan welcomes all financial, material, logistic or technical assistance from the UN in order to strengthen the AU mission in Darfur."

His Foreign Minister Lam Akol specified that "there should be no talk about a mixed force".

He told the BBC there would be no UN troops.

Following a meeting on Darfur in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Mr Annan had said: "The troops should be sourced from Africa as far as possible and the command and control structure would be provided by the UN."

UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland has cut short his trip to Darfur after Sudan's government told him it would be too dangerous for him to travel outside the region's major towns.

A further possible area of disagreement on the peacekeeping mission is the size of the new force.

The UN also wants a force of 17,000 troops, while Sudan says 12,000 would be enough.

There are currently some 7,000 AU troops in Darfur.
Note, 12,000 AU peacekeepers were always on the cards for next year.

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