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UNSC to Vote on Draft Resolution on Darfur
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The UN Security Council is expected to vote on a Britain-US sponsored draft resolution on Darfur that would call for the deployment of some 17,000 UN troops to the war-torn region in Sudan, the council president said Wednesday.

Ghana's Ambassador Nana Effah-Apenteng, the council's president for August, told reporters at UN headquarters after closed-door council discussions, that he expected the draft to be adopted Today.

"But it doesn't mean we are shutting the door to negotiations with the government of Sudan," he said.

Khartoum has repeatedly rejected the prospect of deploying UN troops in Darfur, but offered to send 10,500 more government troops to Darfur to stop the violence.

The 15-member body discussed in the morning the amended draft demanding that the troops be deployed "on the basis of the acceptance of the (Sudanese) government."

The UN troops would replace the 7,000-strong African Union mission which had so far failed to prevent a humanitarian crisis from worsening.

Also on Wednesday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that one of its staff members had been killed in Sudan's Darfur after being abducted.

The killed worker, a 31-year-old Sudanese national, was part of an ICRC team stopped by an unidentified group of armed men on Aug.16 in the east of the Jebel Marra mountains in North Darfur. He was forced to drive one of the two vehicles stolen in the incident.

"The ICRC is shocked by his death, which comes amid a deterioration in security conditions in Darfur that has claimed the lives of other humanitarian workers in recent weeks," the Geneva-based humanitarian organization said in a statement.

"The ICRC condemns all attacks on humanitarian workers, and reminds all parties to the conflict that under international humanitarian law personnel participating in relief actions must be respected and protected," the statement said.

ICRC delegates in Darfur are seeking further clarification of this tragic event. And ICRC aid activities in east of the Jebel Marra mountains have been suspended since the incident took place, according to the statement.

Altogether 11 aid workers have been killed in rising violence in Darfur since a May peace deal between the Sudanese government and one of three rebel groups.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions of others forced from their homes since conflicts began the region in early 2003, media reports said.

(Xinhua News Agency August 31, 2006)

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