Non-AU troops for Darfur 'risky'

Letting non-African troops into Sudan's troubled Darfur region risks creating turmoil like that seen after the US invasion of Iraq, Sudan's president has said.

    Khartoum says AU forces are doing their job well

    Despite the widespread view that an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force had done little to quell violence in Darfur, Omar al-Bashir on Monday argued it was doing its job well and needed no outside help.
    Sudan has rejected a push for a United Nations-led peacekeeping force in Darfur until it signs a peace agreement with rebel groups it is fighting there. AU-led peace talks are underway in Abuja, Nigeria.
    "We have witnessed what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and learned lessons that shouldn't be repeated on the African continent," Bashir told a one-day regional summit in Nairobi.

    UN force
    The AU has been under international pressure to hand over its duties to a better-equipped UN force. The 7000-strong AU mission, monitoring a shaky ceasefire, is badly stretched and was at risk of running out of money by the end of March.
    Earlier this month, the AU extended its Darfur mission until 30 September, to buy time to break the impasse over transferring peacekeeping duties to the UN.
    Sudan is accused by UN and US officials of arming marauding Arab militia, who have raped, killed and driven into squalid camps some 2 million villagers. Sudan denies this.
    Bashir said the AU mission's work was a "success for Africa" and proof the continent could work out its problems without foreign intervention.
    "We will spare no effort to create the conducive atmosphere for the African Union mission to carry out its task until we reach a negotiated comprehensive peaceful settlement in Darfur in the very near future," he said.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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