Security Council members discuss how to move forward on Darfur – Annan
“We talked about the situation in Darfur, and the need for us to work urgently with the Sudanese Government and other parties concerned to find a way out of the impasse which exists today with the deteriorating situation on the ground,” Mr. Annan told reporters following a working luncheon in New York with members of the Council.
He pointed to a series of upcoming meetings, including of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, which currently has a force, known as AMIS, deployed in Darfur.
“Everyone hopes that between now and the end of the month we will be able to come with a workable alternative so that we can move ahead with the implementation of Resolution 1706, and help the people concerned,” Mr. Annan said.
By that text, adopted in late August, the Council voted to deploy a UN force of more than 17,000 peacekeepers across Darfur and said it “invites the consent” of the Sudanese Government. But Khartoum has so far opposed the measure.
Responding to press questions, the Secretary-General said the focus now is “on getting into Darfur an effective force, strengthening the African Union force – that is, giving them all the support that they need, including finding ways of putting in additional resources that [Sudanese] President [Omar al-]Bashir, in his discussions with me, had already accepted – “African Union Plus.”
A $22 million package approved by the Council will help by putting in communication and other experts to assist the Sudanese, Mr. Annan noted, adding: “hopefully we want to go beyond that and work with the African Union and the Sudanese to ensure that we do have an effective force on the ground, and we are looking beyond the end of the year.”
He warned that the international community must take a long-range view “not get caught by the end of the year without any effective arrangements and force on the ground.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Annan’s Deputy Special Representative in Sudan, Tayé Zerihoun, today discussed the UN support package to AMIS with the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security, Said Djinnit, according to a spokesman for the world body.
Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reiterated its concerns about the deployment of additional government troops in Darfur.
The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which was set up to monitor a separate peace deal ending a 21-year conflict in the country’s south, said reports were received on a deployment of at least 30 military vehicles full of government soldiers in North Darfur.
In West Darfur, a new build up of armed militia was reported by several sources in the Jebel Moon area, UNMIS said.