Home | News    Wednesday 22 November 2006

Sudanese VP wants troops in Darfur even without Khartoum’s OK


NOv 22, 2006 (CAIRO) — The international community should send peacekeepers to Darfur with or without Khartoum’s approval, the Sudanese regime’s number two Salva Kiir has said.

Salva Kiir

"My position has always been very clear... that international forces should come to save lives," the Sudanese first vice president told reporters in Cairo after meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Wednesday.

Asked if the Sudanese government’s consent should be a prerequesite to any deployment, Kiir said: "It should not be a condition. There will be no reason, if people are dying... and it should not restrict the international community from coming in to save lives."

His comment came a day after a Darfur summit in Libya attended by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to seek an "African solution" to the crisis which has rocked Africa’s largest country for four years and threatens to spill over into neighbouring states.

After failing to secure Sudan’s consent to deploy United Nations peacekeepers to replace an embattled African Union contingent in Darfur, western powers have recently sought a compromise solution.

The deal for a "hybrid force", including forces from both the AU and the UN, has received broad international support, but Khartoum’s stance remains unclear.

Kiir, who also heads the semi-autonomous government of south Sudan and former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), has long been at odds with Bashir’s National Congress Party over Darfur.

The war there broke out in February 2003 when ethnic minority rebels demanding an equal share of national resources took up arms, prompting a crackdown from government forces and a proxy militia called the Janjaweed.

At least 200,000 people have since died from the combined effects of fighting, famine and disease, according to the UN. Some sources say the toll is much higher.


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