UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Tuesday that the Sudanese Government pledged to respond soon on details of the planned UN-AU force in Darfur.
Annan told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir made the promise to the UN chief on Tuesday, one day before an AU summit in Abuja is slated to discuss the proposed joint operation.
"I just spoke to him, and he has indicated that I will get the response tomorrow morning," the UN chief said. "So I would much rather wait for that."
Following a meeting in Addis Ababa on Nov. 16 between the United Nations, the African Union, Sudan and representatives of Security Council members and other countries, a communique was issued stating that the hybrid UN-AU operation will have about 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers.
This operation is designed to take over from the current AU peace operation in Darfur (known as AMIS), which is approximately 7,000-strong, the communique said.
Annan said that the Sudanese government announced after the Addis Ababa meeting that it needed to discuss several issues - specifically the size and strength of the force, and the appointment of several key posts - before coming back to the other parties with a response.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2006 )