Sudan accepts UN terms on Darfur

Security Council approves 26,000 hybrid African Union-UN force for the region.

    The joint UN-AU operation is expected to cost more than $2bn in the first year alone [AFP]

    Joint position
     

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    Meanwhile, groups who were not part of the Darfur peace agreement have adopted a joint position ahead of the peace talks, an official said on Wednesday.
      
    The joint declaration was signed in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday by the Justice and Equality Movement, National Democratic Alliance and two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement.
      
    It comes ahead of the August 3-5 meeting in Arusha, Tanzania,organised by the UN and AU in preparation for a revival of talks with the Sudanese government, the movements said.
     
    UN vote

    The announcement came as the UN Security Council voted unanimously on Tuesday authorising up to 26,000 troops and police.
     
    The resolution allows the use of force in self-defence, to ensure freedom of movement for humanitarian workers and to protect civilians under attack.
     
    Soon afterwards, the US warned Sudan that it would face "unilateral and multilateral" sanctions if it failed to comply with the Security Council resolution.
     
    The combined UN and African Union operation is expected to cost more than $2bn in the first year and aims to quell violence in Darfur.
     
    However, the new force can no longer seize and dispose of illegal arms and will only monitor such weapons.
     
    More than 2.1 million people have been driven into camps and an estimated 200,000 people killed in the conflict over the last four years.
       

    Further sanctions

     

    Gone also is a threat of future sanctions but Gordon Brown, Britain's prime minister, warned on Tuesday that "if any party blocks progress and the killings continue, I and others will redouble our efforts to impose further sanctions".

       

    He said on a visit to the UN headquarters in New York: "The plan for Darfur from now on is to achieve a ceasefire, including an end to aerial bombings of civilians; drive forward peace talks ... and, as peace is established, offer to begin to invest in recovery and reconstruction."

       

    The UN resolution will authorise up to 19,555 military personnel and 6,432 civilian police and calls on member states to finalise their contributions to the new force within 30 days.

     

    The new UN-AU Mission in Darfur, or Unamid, will enhance the ill-equipped 7,000 African Union troops currently in the region.

     

    Rape, looting, murder and government bombardment drove millions from their homes in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their arid region.

     

    The rebels have now split into a dozen groups, many fighting each other.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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