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UNSC Meets over Situation in Sudan's Darfur
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The UN Security Council held consultations on Thursday on the situation in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan.

The 15-member council weighed a US-British draft resolution that would call for the deployment of 17,000 UN troops to Darfur to replace the 7,000-strong African Union (AU) mission which had so far failed to prevent a humanitarian crisis from worsening.

Council members also considered a letter from Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir concerning its government's plan for the restoration of stability and the protection of civilians in Darfur.

In the letter, al-Bashir voiced his opposition to the deployment of the UN troops and urged the council to allow more time for his government to tackle the crisis on its own.

Al-Bashir proposed the deployment of 10,500 Sudanese government troops by early January to restore order in the troubled region.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a recent letter to the council that the situation in Darfur was deteriorating despite the presence of the ill-equipped and underfunded AU force.
After the closed-door consultations, Ghana's UN Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng, the council president for August, said the council will still go ahead with a planned meeting on Darfur next Monday despite the fact that the African Union, the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the Sudanese government had informed the council they could not attend.

"We will still leave the door open because they are interested parties and we need everybody to be on board to be able to deal with the situation in Darfur," Effah-Apenteng said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 25, 2006)

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