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AU has one week to withdraw transfer of Darfur mission - Sudan

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Sept 4, 2006 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan has requested the African Union to determine within one week whether it is willing to pursue its peacekeeping mission in Darfur or still it maintains the transfer of its mission to the United Nations.

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Ali Karti

Sudan said Monday that African Union troops can remain in Darfur if it withdraws the transfer of Darfur mission to the United Nations.

The Sudanese foreign ministry indicated this position in a press statement issued after a meeting held between the state minister Ali Karti and the AU representative to Sudan, Baba Gana Kingibe.

Sudan has decided to demand the African Union to pull its forces out of Darfur by the end of September. The Sudanese government indicated that the AU transferred it is assignment to the UN which it refuses.

The following is the press statement issued Monday by the Sudanese foreign ministry:

The State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ali Ahmed Karti, Monday summoned the Special Envoy of the Chairman of the African Union Commission and Chairman of the African Union Mission in Sudan, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibi.

The meeting discussed the future of the status of the African troops in Darfur under the recent developments related to UN Security Council resolution No. 1706.

The State Minister pointed out that Sudan has remained committed to the option of continuation of the presence of the African Union’s troops in Darfur and calling for providing support to them, specially that the Arab League has pledged to extend support to cover the period after September 2006, but the African Peace and Security Council pressed ahead with its demand of ending the role of the African Union’s troops in Darfur and hand over their mission to the UN without consultation with the Government of Sudan.

In light of the developments that followed the recent Security Council resolution, the government asked the representative of the African Union to notify it within a week on the final decision of the African Union on the status of its troops in Darfur, whereas the government as part of its keenness on discharging its national responsibilities is ready to assume this responsibility in accordance with specific schedule before the beginning of next October.

The government is committed to enabling the African Union to carry out its role in the political aspects related to the implementation of Darfur Peace Agreement, signed on May 5, 2006.

Ambassador Kingibi, on his part, explained that the status of the African troops would be discussed in the meeting of the Security and Peace Council, due to be held shortly, pledging to convey Sudan’s request to the headquarters of the African Union.

(ST)

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