"We believe that the African Union (AU) has the full mandate and capabilities to accomplish its mission satisfactorily and we expect that no other agency would tamper with this mission," junior foreign minister Naguib al-Khair Abd al-Wahab said on Sunday.

"We commend the work done by the African Union which has been recognised by the UN as the major body responsible for supervising the peace efforts in Darfur, and we expect the UN secretary general to spare no effort to bolster the AU in carrying out its assigned mission," Abd al-Wahab said.

Annan statement

Wahab was responding to Annan's earlier statement calling on Nato and the European Union to help prevent further bloodshed in Darfur.

Annan urged the two groups on Sunday to take action in the western Sudanese region to end violence between ethnic minority rebels and government-backed forces.
  
A UN panel found that the civilian population in Darfur "has been brutalised by war crimes, which may well amount to crimes against humanity", Annan told a conference of defence ministers and security experts in Munich 
  
"People are dying, every single day, while we fail to protect them. Additional measures are urgently required. Those organizations with real capacity - and Nato as well as the EU are well represented in this room - must give serious consideration to what, in practical terms, they can do to help end this tragedy," Annan said. 
   
Annan saluted the work of the 1850 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, but said other international bodies must act as quickly as possible in a region where tens of thousands have died and 1.6 million have been displaced.

Nuclear proliferation

The UN chief also warned of the danger of a "cascade" of nuclear proliferation unless new steps are taken to prevent it.

"There are estimates that about 30 countries can have it, have the capacity to have it"

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Annan said a high-level panel which has proposed far-reaching reforms of the United Nations has also made "many forward-looking recommendations" to beef up the system to prevent states from developing nuclear weapons.

Without making direct reference to the current nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea, Annan said: "Member states must summon the will to act to strengthen the non-proliferation regime."
  
The UN chief believes that up to 30 countries could seek to develop a nuclear weapons capability. 
  
"Those who have the nuclear weapons are quite well known, we have about seven [or] eight of them," Annan told the BBC in a pre-recorded interview broadcast on Sunday.
 
"But there are estimates that about 30 countries can have it, have the capacity to have it," he said.