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US’s Natsios would carry constructive views over Darfur - Sudan

Oct 14, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The US envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios has come to Sudan to carry constructive views to encourage US to reinforce African Union role in Darfur, said The Presidential Advisor, Dr Majzoub Al Khalifa.

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US presidential envoy Andrew Natsios (L) arrives to meet Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol in Khartoum.

Al Khalifa said the visit of the US envoy to Khartoum is not just a notice but it’s give-and-take visit to put Darfur peace agreement into action.

The US special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, arrived in the country Friday to begin his mission of trying to persuade the government to allow a UN peacekeeping force into Darfur.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said this week that the main purpose of Natsios’ trip would be to encourage Sudan’s government to clear the way for the deployment of 20,000 UN troops and police in Darfur.

But Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has staunchly rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a stronger U.N. peacekeeping force to replace the AU troops in Darfur. Instead, he allowed the AU’s mandate to be extended until the end of the year.

The American envoy told Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Akol during their meeting here Saturday that he had come to Sudan with an open mind and desire to make progress in the outstanding issues.

The Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman said that the meeting touched on the humanitarian situations in Darfur and bilateral relations between the two countries, where the two sides agreed on the importance of promoting them. He pointed out that the meeting also tackled the issue of resolution 1706 and the importance of finding a third approach.

On the other hand, The Minister of the Cabinet Affairs, Deng Alor, Saturday received the visiting USenvoy for Sudan, Andrew Natsios, and discussed the security and humanitarian affairs in Darfur.

Alor has got acquainted at the meeting with the objectives of the American envoy’s visit, that are summed up on the possibility of Sudan government’s consent to deployment of international forces in Darfur.

The UN Security Council voted for the deployment of 20.000 troops in August. At present there are 7,000 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, but they are under-funded and poorly equipped.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced since the violence began in Darfur in early 2003.

(ST)