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AU Urges UN to Finance Hybrid Operation in Darfur
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Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission Alpha Oumar Konare on Sunday urged the United Nations to finance a joint peacekeeping operation of the AU and UN in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

He told reporters at the end of his meeting with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir that it was important for the UN to raise sufficient funding for the implementation of the so-called "hybrid operation."

"The ball now is in the court of the United Nations which has pledged to fund the force," he said.

On July 31, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of a 26,000-strong hybrid force to replace the under funded AU peacekeeping force now in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has accepted the resolution, vowing to cooperate with the AU and UN.

Konare said outside troops would not be needed for the new Darfur peacekeeping force since African nations have committed enough troops.

"We have received sufficient commitments from African countries that we will not have to resort to non-African forces," he said.

Konare also said that arrangements were being conducted to hold an international meeting on Darfur in New York next September, which would be under the AU and UN's patronage.

Konare expressed satisfaction over the development of Sudan's relations with Chad, which he said would be helpful for boosting AU's peacekeeping operations in Darfur.

The official SUNA news agency reported that during the meeting, al-Bashir affirmed Sudan's support to the AU troops to boost the efforts of the Sudanese government to achieve security, peace and stability in Darfur.

Al-Bashir also appreciated AU's efforts for the completion of the peace process in Sudan, according to SUNA.

After the meeting, Konare left Khartoum, winding up his visit which lasted only for several hours.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2007)

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