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AU-UN force facing challenges in Darfur
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The UN top official in charge of peacekeeping operations said Wednesday that the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) is facing great challenges.


The Security Council heard a briefing from Jean-Marie Guehenno, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, on the outstanding challenges and impediments the United Nations continues to face in its efforts to deploy UNAMID.


In his briefing, while noting a "modest momentum" created by the transfer of authority from the African Union mission to UNAMID on Dec. 31, Guehenno told the Council that war, with cross-border dimensions, is continuing.


He also reported that, five months after the adoption of resolution 1769, the United Nations does not yet have guarantees or agreements from the Sudanese government on basic technical issues regarding the deployment of UNAMID.


At the same time, the under-secretary-general said, the mission itself will not have the personnel or assets in place to implement its mandate for many months, even in the best-case scenario.


He noted that no offers for essential transportation and aviation assets have been made, including the 24 helicopters.


Guehenno described as "grave" the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, saying the escalation of violence in West Darfur presents a fundamental challenge to UNAMID, which is a peacekeeping force not designed to deploy or function in a war zone.


Reporting on the attack on the UNAMID supply convoy earlier this week, Guehenno said that after the attack, the area commander for the Sudanese Armed Forces had confirmed that it was a Sudanese Armed Forces unit that had fired on the convoy.


(Xinhua News Agency January 10, 2008)

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