Home | News    Thursday 9 June 2005

NATO to launch Darfur mission, denies EU tensions

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

By Mark John

BRUSSELS, June 9 (Reuters) - NATO defence ministers gave the green light on Thursday to an operation to airlift extra African troops to Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, the alliance’s first mission on the continent.

NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer .

NATO chiefs were at pains to stress there was no competition with a separate European Union mission, after NATO-member France said its offer to transport two battalions of Senegalese troops was under an EU, not a NATO, banner.

NATO’s go-ahead for the operation comes a day before Darfur peace talks sponsored by the African Union resume in the Nigerian capital Abuja. Tens of thousands have been killed in the arid western region and more than 2 million forced from their homes during a rebellion now well into its third year.

"The situation in that region is appalling, and we must do all that is in our power, in coordination with other organisations starting with the EU, to assist the African Union," said NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

NATO plans to be ready with air transport from July 1.

The African Union has ruled out Western troops helping in Darfur, but in April called on NATO and the EU to assist with logistical support.

Sudan has welcomed NATO’s help with logistics in Darfur but also says it will not accept any NATO troops on its soil.

The AU is seeking to triple its existing presence to 7,700 troops by late-September. Rwanda has pledged three extra battalions, Senegal two, Nigeria two and South Africa one.

The United States has said it will provide the airlift for the Rwandans, and France for the Senegalese. Other transport arrangements have yet to be finalised.

Washington had wanted NATO to coordinate the entire effort, which could later include logistical support such as officer training. But Paris insisted its role would be part of an existing EU support package.

COOPERATION PLEDGE

The French move has reopened a debate about tensions between NATO and the EU as the latter seeks to develop its role as a global defence and security player.

But both organisations are keen to avoid being seen to squabble while people continue to die in Darfur. They insist they will cooperate fully and that there is no rivalry.

"I think this is a completely irrelevant discussion. One should simply agree to help. Who takes the lead in coordinating it is secondary," said German Defence Minister Peter Struck.

Struck said Germany was also ready to contribute airlift capacity and equipment but left open whether this would be as part of NATO or the EU. "It’s all the same to me," he told reporters.

U.N. officials estimate about 180,000 people have died in Darfur through violence, hunger and disease since rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government in February 2003.

The rebels accuse Khartoum of neglecting Darfur and of backing Arab militia to crush them.

Under a compromise agreed by NATO envoys on Tuesday, NATO will only handle airlift offers from NATO members who expressly ask it to — at present, the United States and Canada.

NATO’s coordination with the EU will go through an AU-led cell in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, staffed with a small number of EU and NATO officials.

Besides air transport, the EU has offered a broad package of logistics support to the AU.

(Additional reporting by Carol Giacomo)

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


A new approach to peace 2018-04-23 06:16:35 By Miroslav Laják When the United Nations was created, its founders envisioned a different kind of world. A world in which disputes were resolved in meeting rooms and not battlefields. A world (...)

Bring Sudanese troops home now 2018-04-21 15:25:57 By Salah Shuaib The Sudanese troops fighting hard now in Yemen, who were sent there by order of al-Bashir, should return home. The process of implementing this task is much challenging. But, we (...)

Dissolution and formation of the Cabinet - 2013 2018-04-20 08:00:00 Amb Telar Deng The events that led to the 2013 dissolution of cabinet can be traced back to the deep mistrust that fermented back in 1991 when leaders failed to close ranks. After the 1991 (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)

Appeal for forgiveness and pardon of John Agou Wuoi 2018-03-07 08:28:08 H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President and Commander-in-Chief, of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), Republic of South Sudan (RSS), 5th February, 2018. Through: Hon. Michael Makuei Lueth (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.