The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold a ministerial meeting Tuesday to discuss the peace prospects of conflict-battered Darfur, west Sudan.
The meeting is to be presided over by Rodolphe Adada, the foreign minister of the Republic of Congo, which holds the council presidency for May, UN spokesman Stephanie Dujarric told reporters.
Participants are expected to include Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his French counterpart, Philippe Douste-Blazy.
US President George W. Bush said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would address the Security Council Tuesday to seek a rapid deployment of peacekeepers in Sudan, following last week's peace agreement between Khartoum and the major Darfur rebel faction in Abuja, Nigeria.
"She's going to request a resolution that will accelerate the deployment of UN peacekeepers into Darfur," Bush told reporters earlier in the day.
The US circulated on Monday a draft resolution urging the 10,100-strong UN mission currently deployed in southern Sudan to provide support for their African Union (AU) counterparts in Darfur.
The US text would also call on Khartoum to cooperate fully and allow a UN assessment team to travel to Darfur, a vast region the size of France, to prepare the ground for the deployment of a UN force to eventually take over peacekeeping from the AU.
That peace agreement was signed in Abuja last Friday by the Sudanese government and the main faction of the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM), one of the two rebel groups in Darfur. But another rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, and a splinter faction of the SLM rejected the deal.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2006)