AU: No need for non-African troops in Darfur force

The head of the African Union said non-African troops would not be needed for the new Darfur peacekeeping force in Sudan because countries on the continent had committed enough soldiers.

AU: No need for non-African troops in Darfur force
The head of the African Union said Sunday that non-African troops would not be needed for the new Darfur peacekeeping force in Sudan because countries on the continent had committed enough soldiers.

The Sudanese government is opposed to non-Africans playing any major role in the hybrid U.N.-African Union operation that was authorized by the U.N. Security Council on July 31 and will be made up of 20,000 peacekeepers and 6,000 civilian police.

"I can confirm today that we have received sufficient commitments from African countries that we will not have to resort to non-African forces," Konare said following a brief meeting with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum.

Konare later told The Associated Press that outside forces would only be needed if African countries did not follow through with their commitments.

"Non-African forces would be needed only in case the African countries would not be in a position to provide the number of troops agreed-upon," he said.

Konare said representatives from the AU and the U.N. would meet in New York in September to discuss the hybrid force.

Disagreements over the composition of the mission were a major reason the authorization was delayed for months despite mounting pressure for Sudan to stop the violence that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million in the last four years.

Konare gave no details about which countries had pledged forces but several African nations have made announcements regarding troops.

In addition to the AU forces currently in Darfur that are expected to stay on, Nigeria, Malawi and Rwanda have offered to deploy another battalion each, about 2,400 troops total, and Senegal has said it will triple its contingent to 1,600.

Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt and Ethiopia also have pledged to contribute troops or add to current contingents for a joint force.

According to the U.N. resolution, the composition of the force must be decided by Aug. 30.

AP
Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 14:26
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