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Ethiopia to deploy 5000 troops in Darfur

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September 13, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Ethiopia will deploy five thousand soldiers to a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur, Sudanese media reported yesterday.

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Ethiopian soldiers attend a parade in Afisiyooni air base in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu Jan 23, 2007. (Reuters)

Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi on Wednesday discussed the efforts exerted by various parties to work out a political solution for Darfur crisis and its support for the peacekeeping force with 5000 troops.

"The two sides also discussed the importance of unifying African stands to tackle all issues facing the continent." The Sudanese TV reported.

Al-Bashir was in Addis Ababa to attend celebrations to mark Ethiopian Millennium along with several African leaders.

Al-Bashir was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Lam Akol, Minister of Defence Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, Minister of the Presidency Bakri Hassan Saleh and a number of senior government officials.

Also, the Sudanese president held discussions at the sidelines of the celebrations with the AU Peace and Security Commissioner Alpha Oumar Konaré on ways of implementing Darfur hybrid operations agreed between the government, AU and the UN.

The U.N. Security Council last month unanimously approved the 26,000-strong mission, which, if fully deployed, would be the world’s largest operation of its kind, to help end four years of rape and slaughter in the vast Sudanese desert region.

The force is expected to be made up mostly of peacekeepers from Africa with backup from Asian troops.

(ST)

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