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Sudan: UN Peacekeeping Mission Will Top $1Billion

Cost Of UN Peacekeeping Mission In Southern Sudan Will Top $1 Billion In First Year

More than $1 billion will be needed to fund the first year of the proposed United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan, set up to help the vast region stabilize and its people rebuild their lives after a 21-year civil war.

In an addendum to his earlier report to the Security Council on the proposed mission, Secretary-General Kofi Annan says the UN has projected that $147.5 million in one-off, start-up costs and $862.3 million in recurring costs will be required for the first 12 months of the mission's mandate.

These costs are based on the deployment of 10,130 military personnel (including 5,070 troops), 755 civilian police officers, 1,018 international staff, 2,263 Sudanese staff and 214 UN Volunteers (UNV).

Mr. Annan's report already outlines that the mission faces daunting logistical challenges to its goal of attempting to reconstruct the southern portion of Africa's largest country. Aside from the security problems, southern Sudan is extremely isolated, with "poor communications, few hardened roads or runways and an inoperable railway system," according to the report, as well as extra transport restrictions during the annual rainy season. Landmines and unexploded ordnances present another risk.

The area covered by the mission - which would be set up under Chapter VI of the UN Charter - is also so large that one of the six proposed operational sectors is the size of Austria and another is equal to the state of New York.

Mr. Annan's report follows last month's signing of a peace deal ending the civil war between the Sudanese Government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) that had raged since 1983. The peace agreement has provisions on power-sharing, some autonomy for the south, and more equitable distribution of economic resources, including oil. In six years the people of southern Sudan will also have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to secede.

In a separate development, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) reported today that UN officials have halted access to the town of Juba in southern Sudan while they assess an apparent deadly explosion at an ammunition dump in the area.

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