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Sudan Reiterates Refusal of Peacekeeping Deployment
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Sudan on Sunday reiterated refusal of the deployment of international peacekeepers in its troubled western Darfur region under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter, which allows UN-approved military intervention without the consent of the concerned state.

Sudanese Presidential Advisor Majzoub al-Khalifa told reporters that he had reiterated the government's position during a meeting with a joint assessment team of the United Nations and the African Union (AU), which is visiting Sudan to study the possibility of a UN takeover of the peacekeeping mission in Darfur from the AU.

"We clarified to them that we had not authorized the AU to transfer its mandate to any other party," the Sudanese official said.

Al-Khalifa added, "We also expressed our definite refusal of deploying international forces in Darfur under Chapter Seven, and the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) does not include any role for the UN in the region."

On May 5, the Sudanese government signed the peace deal with a main Darfur rebel faction in the Nigerian capital Abuja in order to put an end to the conflict in Darfur, which has waged for the past three years.

"We asked the assessment team to concentrate their mission on the implementation of the DPA and the reinforcement of the AU forces in Darfur," al-Khalifa said, adding that the UN ought to provide assistance in the humanitarian field and observe the signatories of the DPA to be committed to the agreement.

He stressed that all the parties concerned should double their efforts to achieve the main aim, which was to realize peace in Darfur.

Regarding an al-Qaida announcement to move activities to Darfur in case that international forces are deployed there in the name of defending the Sudanese people, al-Khalifa said the Sudanese people did not need any one from the outside to defend them because the Sudanese people "can defend their belief and sovereignty by themselves."

The joint UN-AU assessment team was formed according to a UN Security Council resolution adopted on May 16.

The Sudanese government agreed to let the team in after talks with a Security Council delegation in Khartoum last Tuesday.

The team arrived in the Sudanese capital on Friday.

During its two-week visit, the team will evaluate how to reinforce the 7,800-strong AU forces in Darfur in the next few months and prepare for a possible transfer of the peacekeeping mission from the AU to the UN.

Besides having meetings with Sudanese officials in Khartoum, the assessment team will also visit Darfur to inspect the situation there.

(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2006)

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