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UN Peacekeeping Official On Week-Long Sudan Visit

Top UN Peacekeeping Official Begins Week-Long Sudan Visit

New York, Oct 6 2008 11:10AM

The head of United Nations peacekeeping today began a week-long visit to Sudan, where the world body currently has two operations – one to support the 2005 north-south peace deal and the other to quell the violence that has plagued the western region of Darfur since 2003.

The familiarization tour for Alain Le Roy is his first since being appointed Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations in August.

After arriving in the capital, Khartoum, Mr. Le Roy met today with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ashraf Qazi, and other senior officials from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which is tasked with supporting the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Signed by the Khartoum Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005, the Agreement ended the country’s long-running north-south civil war.

The UN peacekeeping chief is also scheduled to visit Kadugli, Abyei, Juba and El Obeid, and meet with leadership of the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan and other key interlocutors.

Mr. Le Roy will also travel to El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state and the headquarters of the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping mission to Darfur, known as UNAMID, which was deployed at the start of this year to help bring peace to the strife-torn region.

UNAMID, which is slated to become the world body’s largest peacekeeping operation with some 26,000 personnel at full strength, currently has some 10,000 troops and police officers on the ground and still lacks essential equipment, including helicopters.

Another 3,000 personnel are expected to join UNAMID in the coming weeks, bringing the total number of troops by the end of November to about 13,000.

An estimated 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed, either through direct combat or as a result of disease, malnutrition or reduced life expectancy, and more than 2.7 million others have been uprooted from their homes in the five-year conflict that has pit rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.

Also on Mr. Le Roy’s schedule are stops in South Darfur’s capital, Nyala, and El Geneina, capital of West Darfur.


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