Sudan accepts UN role in Darfur

The UN is set to lead AU forces in Darfur and investigate the increasing violence.

    Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, said there were limits to the kind of UN support he would accept

    Djinit said that UN support would ensure the force had the strength to ensure security in Darfur, deliver humanitarian assistance and protect civilians.
       
    The decision by the AU Peace and Security Council left it unclear how many peacekeepers Khartoum will allow into Darfur.

    The UN Security Council and Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, have said as many as 22,000 may be needed, compared to the 7,000 AU soldiers now there.

    Limits

    An estimated 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced out of their homes by nearly four years of violence in the region

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    Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, who attended the meeting in Abuja, said there were limits to the kind of support he would accept.

    "Political, financial, logistics and technical ... not the command but advising the command," he said.

    Sudan has repeatedly refused to allow the UN any military role in Darfur arguing that it would be a violation of their sovereignty and could worsen the situation in the region.

    Djinit said that despite the Sudanese government's reservations, the UN would now be involved in key decisions about the peacekeeping force.

    The leader of the joint force will be appointed by the head of the AU commission and the UN chief. Both bodies will also be involved in choosing a "special representative" for Darfur.

    The UN and AU had earlier this month adopted a proposal for a hybrid force of 17,000 troops and 3,000 police to be deployed in Darfur, but Khartoum expressed reservations over the numbers.

    An estimated 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million forced out of their homes by nearly four years of violence in the region.
       
    Human rights groups have accused Khartoum of hindering efforts to provide security and humanitarian relief.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera + agencies


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