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EU to finance over half of African Union peace mission’s cost in Darfur


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Javier Solana

ADDIS ABABA, Oct 23 (AFP) — The European Union (EU) and its member states will finance over half of the cost of African Union (AU) ceasefire monitoring and civilian protection force in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur, EU foreign affairs chief Javier Solana said on Saturday.

The EU itself will formally announce a payment of 100 million dollars (about 80 million euros) in Brussels on Monday, while individual EU member countries are expected to boost that amount to more than half the 221 million dollars required, Solana told journalists in Addis Ababa after holding talks with AU Commission chairman Alpha Oumar Konare.

This week the AU announced it was set to boost the number of truce-monitoring troops in Darfur seven-fold to 3,320.

"Given the situation in Darfur, this mission has to be a success. The African Union is going to be a success with the cooperation of the international community," Solana said.

"The African Union is going to be a success with the cooperation of the international community," Solana said.

But Solana restrained from describing the conflict in Darfur as genocide, a term officially used by the US State Department for the killing of black African farmers by Khartoum-backed Arab militia called Janjaweed.

"I don’t want to get into a semantic game. I would prefer to see the situation solved before we get into a definition of what it is," he said.

"This has been a very, very important meeting for me and for the AU also. We made a good analysis of the relationship between the AU and the EU. Of course we have also talked about Darfur, he explained.

"Since the approval on Wednesday of the AU’s new plan, we have also in the EU agreed on the amount of money that we are going to deploy to help in the operation.

"We are going to put about 100 million dollars from the EU, and when you add to what the member states are going to do, you will have more than half of the operational cost. We are very pleased to say that.

"We will continue, under the leadership of the AU to help with planners if necessary, with people if necessary for logistics and communications etc," Solana added

The United Nations estimates that 70,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million driven from their homes since Darfur’s rebel groups launched an uprising in February 2003, accusing Khartoum of leaving their region on the economic and political sidelines.

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