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Security Council urges Sudan to accept joint UN-AU force

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Dec 19, 2006 (UNITED NATIONS) — The UN Security Council urged the Sudanese government to accept the deployment of a joint African Union-UN peacekeeping force in its strife-torn Darfur region.

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UN Security Council

In a statement read by its president for December, Qatar’s UN envoy Abdelaziz al-Nasser, the 15-member body endorsed Darfur-related decisions taken at a high-level meeting in Addis Ababa and by the AU Peace and Security Council last month.

Late last month, Sudan accepted a three-phase plan in Abuja, Nigeria, under which the UN would assist the under-funded and ill-equipped 7,000-strong AU contingent that has failed to stem four years of bloodshed in Darfur.

The UN support package’s first two stages consist of technical and logistical help that would pave the way for a "hybrid" peacekeeping force that has yet to be approved by Beshir.

The council on Tuesday called for "the immediate deployment of the United Nations’ Light and Heavy Support Packages to the AU mission in Sudan and a hybrid operation in Darfur."

It reaffirmed "its deep concern about the worsening security situation in Darfur and its repercussions in the region."

Monday Outgoing UN chief Kofi Annan decided to send a senior adviser to Khartoum to clarify Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir’s stance on the joint UN-AU force in Darfur.

UN troubleshooter Ahmadou Ould Abdallah is to head for Khartoum Wednesday to deliver a letter from Annan to Beshir.

Annan, who is relinquishing his post in two weeks’ time, also named that Swedish former foreign minister Jan Elliason as interim special representative to Sudan.

Eliasson, a former president of the UN General Assembly, "will work the diplomatic channels mainly outside Sudan, working with capitals and governments and encouraging them to stay engaged and work with us in Darfur in the search for a solution," Annan told a press conference Tuesday.

At least 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million been displaced in Darfur as a result of the combined effects of war and famine, according to UN figures.

(AFP)

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