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UN Council to Back Darfur Funds
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The UN Security Council will recommend that the world body fund a joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission for Darfur, after receiving assurances it would be controlled by the UN, envoys said Sunday.

After months of talks, threats and negotiations, Khartoum agreed to at least 20,000 troops and police for Darfur, but had said that most soldiers should come from Africa and command and control would be under the AU.

The United Nations was however reluctant to fund a mission where it did not have overall control.
"Command and control processes will be those of the United Nations," said British envoy Emyr Jones Parry. "And that is necessary if indeed this operation is to be funded from the peacekeeping budget of the United Nations," he added.

South African ambassador Dumisani Kumalo said the Security Council would be recommending that the general assembly fund the force, which may entail 20-25,000 troops and police.

"We expect that this will happen within the month," he told reporters after two hours of talks with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir during a visit to Khartoum Sunday.

Darfur rebels said the Council should not be fooled by promises from Khartoum officials.

Since a peace deal last year signed by only one of three negotiating rebel factions, the insurgents have split into more than a dozen different movements, hindering a joint AU-UN push to reenergize a peace process.

Law and order has collapsed in Darfur with almost daily ambushes on aid convoys, while a struggling AU peacekeeping force has also come under attack, losing equipment and dozens of vehicles.

The Security Council has not yet ruled out the threat of UN sanctions on Sudan, and diplomats said there had been discussions about imposing a no-fly zone in Darfur and an arms embargo on the entire country.

(China Daily via agencies June 18, 2007)

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