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Security Council approves structure of UN/African peacekeeping force in Darfur

Security Council approves structure of UN/African peacekeeping force in Darfur

Amb. Zalmay Khalilzad
The Security Council today called for the immediate implementation of a joint report of the United Nations and the African Union (AU) that sets out the mandate and structure for the planned hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission for the violence-wracked Darfur region of Sudan.

“The Security Council notes that agreement between the African Union and the United Nations on this joint report is an important development in the comprehensive approach to the peace process in Darfur,” the 15-member body declared in a statement read out by its May President, Zalmay Khalilzad of the United States.

The new mission will be the final phase in a three-step process in which the UN is supporting and enhancing the existing but under-resourced AU peacekeeping mission to Darfur, known as AMIS. Most of the troops in the hybrid force will be African.

As part of the first phase, known as the “light support package,” the UN handed over medical support items ranging from a fully equipped ambulance to pharmaceutical products such as drugs and vaccines to AMIS.

The UN and AU have stepped up their peacemaking efforts over the past year amid mounting international concern at the situation inside Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has described Darfur as the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the conflict between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militias – notorious for their attacks on civilians – and rebel groups has threatened to spill into neighbouring Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR).