Five African nations pledged yesterday to send peacekeepers to a
mission in Sudan's troubled Darfur region that was approved this
week by the UN Security Council, a top African Union (AU) official
Said Djinnit, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, said
member states had responded positively during talks on the
deployment of up to 26,000 UN and AU troops who will absorb a
smaller AU force that has failed to quell the violence.
"Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon and Ethiopia have
pledged to provide troops for the Darfur operation," Djinnit told
reporters at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
South Africa said it would consider sending more troops, in
addition to the 97 it already has in Sudan. "We will give very
serious consideration and I am sure positive considerations to
increasing our presence," Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz
Pahad told reporters in the South African capital Pretoria.
Nigeria already has troops in Darfur and Djinnit did not say how
many soldiers overall had now been pledged.
Expected to cost more than US$2 billion in the first year, the
so-called "hybrid" force will assume authority over 7,000 AU
soldiers already in Darfur by December 31, but the daunting task of
finding enough personnel is expected to take many more months.
Sudan has promised to cooperate with the new mission, which was
authorized by the UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Mutref Sediq, Sudan's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs,
said the resolution did not meet all Khartoum's demands.
"But it is reasonable and constitutes a good base for
cooperation between the African Union, United Nations and the Sudan
government," he told a news conference in Addis Ababa.
The peacekeepers will be able to use force to protect civilians
and the world's biggest aid operation, but the resolution was
watered down and no longer allows troops to seize illegal arms.
There was also no threat of sanctions if Sudan fails to
(China Daily via agencies August 3, 2007)