UN, Sudan and African Union to meet to discuss strengthening support in Darfur

UN, Sudan and African Union to meet to discuss strengthening support in Darfur

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The United Nations, the African Union (AU) and the Sudanese Government will meet tomorrow to discuss how they can implement the $21 million light support package from the UN to the existing AU peacekeeping mission in the war-torn region of Darfur.

Representatives of the three bodies will take part in the first meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters today in New York, adding the new body is designed to ensure a more transparent and efficient method of providing UN support to the AU mission, which is known as AMIS.

Last month, in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, representatives of the three bodies agreed that the UN would provide extra support to AMIS as part of a three-phase process that would eventually culminate in AMIS becoming a hybrid UN-AU mission.

Mr. Dujarric said that the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) will present a list to tomorrow’s meeting of equipment and personnel ready to be deployed in support of AMIS.

The meeting is being held as insecurity plagues Darfur, a vast and impoverished region on Sudan’s western flank that has been beset since 2003 by fighting between Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups seeking greater autonomy. At least 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2 millions others forced to flee their homes.

The UN Human Rights Council discussed the situation in Darfur at a special session today in Geneva, where Secretary-General Kofi Annan told delegates in a video message that immediate action is necessary to protect civilians from the killings, bombardment, mass rape and other atrocities.

“The people of Darfur cannot afford to wait another day,” he said. “The violence must stop. The killings and other gross violations of human rights must end.”

UNMIS reported today that unidentified armed men hijacked an AMIS vehicle on Sunday and kidnapped the two AMIS personnel inside in El Fasher, the capital of the state of North Darfur.

In West Darfur, a vehicle donated by a UN agency to the local health ministry to assist in the mobile immunization of infants and children was hijacked outside the Krinding II camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). The driver was also kidnapped in the attack.