Sudan may allow joint UN/AU forces in Darfur

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Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Mustafa Osman Ismail, Sudan's Presidential Advisor, opened the possibility of allowing some United Nations peacekeepers into its troubled Darfur region. Ismail admitted that the African Union Commander in Darfur could request non-African troops if he decides that current troop numbers are not sufficient. This would allow forces from organisations such as the UN to send troops there at the Commander's request. When asked whether this would lead to UN troops in Darfur, Ismail replied "You are right."

While the region is currently overseen by 7,000 AU troops, hopes indicate that a joint venture might see as many as 17,000 UN and AU troops deployed, in addition to 3,000 police officers.

Sudan had previously rejected UN Security Council Resolution 1706, which authorised 22,500 UN peacekeepers to handle the Darfur conflict. Since the start of the conflict, 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes.