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Security Council Adopts Resolution on UN Troops in Darfur
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The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Thursday that approves the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces to the Darfur region in Sudan.

The vote was 12 in favor, with abstentions from Russia, China and Qatar, the only Arab council member. Sudan and Arab states requested that the vote be postponed.

Sudan rejected the resolution on Thursday as illegal and contravening a May peace accord, officials said.

"Our stand is very clear; the Sudanese government has not been consulted and it is not appropriate to pass a resolution before they seek the permission of Sudan," said Presidential Advisor Ali Tamim Fartak.

The presidential advisor responsible for Darfur, Majzoub al-Khalifa, told Al Jazeera television that the resolution was completely rejected by Sudan.

"We completely reject this resolution...which is illegal," he said. "This resolution is opposing the Darfur peace agreement."

The 17,000 UN peacekeepers will take over the mission from an African Union force. The AU force, which has funds to last until mid-October and whose mandate expires on September 30, has experienced difficulties in coping with the humanitarian disaster in Darfur. But the UN force will not be deployed without approval from the Sudanese government.

Violence has escalated since the AU-brokered peace accord was reached in May. It was signed by only one of three negotiating factions and rejected by tens of thousands in Darfur.

Tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million people forced from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003.

Washington describes as "genocide" the rape, pillage and murder that has taken place, a charge Khartoum rejects. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating alleged war crimes in the region.

Observers say Khartoum, likening the UN transition to Western colonialism, is worried UN troops would arrest officials likely to be indicted by the ICC.

(Xinhua News Agency Chinadaily.com via agencies September 1, 2006)

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