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AU Extends Mandate of Peacekeeping Force in Darfur
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The African Union (AU) agreed on Wednesday to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur for three more months until the end of this year.

The decision was made at a summit meeting of AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) on the sidelines of the general debate of the UN General Assembly. Both UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir attended the meeting.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Campaore, the PSC chairman, told reporters after the meeting that there has been an agreement to extend the mandate of the AU force for three months until Dec. 31 while pushing for a dialogue between the Sudanese government and the United Nations.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution last month to create a UN peacekeeping forces to take over the Darfur operations from the under funded AU force. However, the deployment of UN peacekeeping force does not get the consent of the Sudanese Government.

Bashir reiterated his steadfast opposition to the UN deployment when addressing the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

At a news conference on Tuesday, he said Khartoum would approve an extension of the AU force, whose mandate expires at the end of this month.

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2006)

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