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UN-AU Officials Confer With Sudan On Darfur Force

UN-African Union officials confer with Sudan on Darfur peace force

4 August 2008 - Senior officials from the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur have received reassurances from the Sudanese Government that it will facilitate the full deployment of the mission in the strife-torn region.

During their meeting yesterday in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, the Acting UN-AU Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Henry Anyidoho, and senior AU officials were also reassured by the Government that all obstacles concerning the use of land by the mission, known as UNAMID, would be removed.

In addition to issues related to UNAMID's deployment, the officials also discussed support for Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, who as the new Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur is tasked with rejuvenating efforts to resolve the five-year conflict that has raged between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed, as well as the strengthening of the offices of the Joint Mediation Support Team.

An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003, either through direct combat or disease, malnutrition or reduced life expectancy, while another 2.7 million people have been displaced from their homes.

Insecurity and unrest continue to plague Darfur, an arid and impoverished region on Sudan's western flank, and attempts to broker a peace deal have also been hampered by the splintering of the many rebel movements.

Last week the Security Council extended until 31 July 2009 the mandate of mission, which took over from an AU peace monitoring force at the start of this year. UNAMID currently has nearly 10,000 uniformed personnel in place, far short of the approximately 26,000 troops and police officers expected when the force reaches full deployment.

ENDS

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