UN and AU agree on joint Darfur force

Updated: 2007-05-25 09:21

The organizations proposed two options for the military force - one with 19,500 troops including 18 infantry battalions and the other with 17,605 troops including 15 infantry battalions.

The larger force has "an optimal balance" of capabilities "and would credibly contribute to a secure environment," the report said, while the smaller force would "critically depend" on day and night rapid reaction forces and readily available aircraft and helicopters.

The police component would include 3,772 officers and about 2,500 policemen whose prime responsibility would be to establish and train community police in the camps and work with the national police in Darfur to meet international standards.

The report said that even the first of the three UN phases - a light support package including UN police advisers, civilian staff and additional resources and technical support - is still not fully deployed.

It said the lack of security and inadequate living accommodations are holding up the arrival of 46 military, police and civilian staff - and the two organizations are still seeking 27 military officers and 36 armored personnel carriers from member states.

After five months of stalling, the Sudanese president on April 16 gave the go-ahead for the second phase - a "heavy support package" with 3,000 UN troops, police and civilian personnel along with six attack helicopters and other equipment.

The AU and UN called for urgent contributions of troops and police from UN member states, and urged Sudan to approve an agreement on land use and water drilling for the force.

The two organizations said every effort will be made to keep the hybrid force predominantly African, as al-Bashir demanded.


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