- Title: UN/FILE: Sudan allows interim troop deployment in Darfur
- Date: 18th April 2007
- Summary: (AD1) UNITED NATIONS (FILE) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR UNITED NATIONS HEADQUARTERS FLAGS
- Embargoed: 3rd May 2007 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA7S23R4BD3OBQJR1ZYR0ZP1TX5
- Story Text: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the United Nations will move in quickly to deploy a support package that includes attack helicopters and over 3000 UN peacekeeping troops, after the Sudanese government agrees. Sudan cleared the way for the United Nations to bolster an African Union (AU) force struggling to maintain peace in Darfur when it agreed on Monday (April 16) to accept United Nations (UN) attack helicopters as part of the plan.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greeted Khartoum's announcement as "a very positive sign" after he and African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare met on Monday.
Ki-Moon told reporters he has received a letter from Sudan's UN Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem confirming Sudan's agreement.
"This morning, I have received an official communication from the Sudanese government through their Permanent Representative in New York , informing me that they agreed on the heavy support package in its entirety, including the helicopter component. This is a very positive sign, and I and the African Union intend to move quickly to prepare for the deployment of the heavy support package and the hybrid force. At the same time, the United Nations and [AU] intend to intensify the inclusive political process to facilitate all the peace agreements and also protect the civilians in Darfur," he told reporters after his meeting with Konare.
The new interim support package will mean deployment of 3,000 UN police and military personnel to aid the AU force of 7,000 that has been unable to stop the 4-year-old war. But Sudan has not agreed to a proposed larger force of more than 20,000 troops and police.
Sudan has made clear it expects the third phase, a so-called "hybrid" force to include only African Union infantry troops. But the United Nations and African Union have made clear other nations would be called on if enough Africans were not available.
Konare said the African Union had two battalions ready to go to Darfur in preparation for UN personnel, which will take months to deploy. But he said they needed financing for their upkeep and for weapons.
Monies will have to come from donations until the UN force arrives, at which time all UN members will be assessed for the financing. But first camps need to be built and water needs to be available.
Fighting began four years ago among the Arab-dominated government and militia who support them and African rebels.
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