World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Conference to Boost AU Efforts in Darfur

Annan Heads to Ethiopia for Conference to Boost African Union Efforts in Darfur

New York, May 25 2005 4:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected to arrive today in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, ahead of meeting to bolster international support for the African Union (AU) mission in Sudan's Darfur region.

Mr. Annan is due to co-chair the donor meeting tomorrow in Addis Ababa – home to the Union's headquarters – with AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konaré, formerly the President of Mali.

The pledging conference aims to rally support for the AU Mission (AMIS) in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where for the past two years rebels have been waging a war against the Government and its allied militias, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and forcing some 2 million people from their homes.

From Addis, Mr. Annan is scheduled to go to Sudan's capital, Khartoum, troubled Darfur and southern Sudan's newly peaceful town of Rumbek, returning to UN Headquarters on 1 June. He also visited Darfur last July.

In New York, Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, set the stage for the pledging conference by praising the "remarkable" efforts of the relatively small AU force in the areas where it has been able to deploy.

Although there was no doubt that without the pan-African troops the situation would be worse, only a strengthened and expanded AU presence could ensure widespread peace and stability, he said at a press briefing on his just completed weeklong visit to the region. A successful outcome tomorrow in Addis was essential if AMIS was to be provided with what was needed to do its job properly.

Mr. Guéhenno said that his first-hand visit to Darfur revealed the immensity of the crisis - particularly the "heartbreaking" conditions he saw in some of the burned out villages and the camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). He praised the work of the humanitarian community for undertaking the massive job of feeding and sheltering so many desperate people.

The AU force of just over 2,500 was making "real improvements" in the situation, he said. Their presence had helped create a sense of confidence and security, which was welcome, and in many instances led to sporadic returns. "But when you go to many of the IDP camps, the people are still afraid to return to their homes," he said.

"We need to make the pledging conference a success," he said, because the overall situation needed to change. And while more money would certainly be welcome, the AU was really looking for technical and logistical support. AMIS particularly needed equipment – from helicopters and sleeping bags, to flack jackets and transistor radios.

Procurement takes time, and the AU did not always have sufficient capacities to secure equipment. Partners, he said, may be better placed to provide equipment directly, which would allow the AU to put more boots on the ground faster. In the past, the AU had provided detailed lists of what was needed. Often these things were sitting in stockrooms of military operations around the world.

"They are doing a remarkable job, but could do even better if they were better equipped, and this would help build confidence in returns," Mr. Guéhenno said.

He also stressed the need for the international community to support the political process that the AU was leading on the ground as well. This was as essential as military deployment, and without the two, the situation in Darfur would remain fragile.

The recent comprehensive agreement ending Sudan's North-South conflict has been a major breakthrough, Mr. Guéhenno said, adding that there was an immense expectation on the ground for the arrival of UN "blue helmets" to help consolidate that part of the peace process. All sides were looking forward to the full deployment of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which will be rather difficult with the coming rainy season, he added.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news