Saturday, July 15, 2006

Sudan under pressure to accept UN Darfur mission

Friday, July 14, 2006; 7:04 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - World powers will next week press Sudan to accept a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur amid reports of increasing violence in the province.

Tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million people forced into camps during three years of rape, murder and pillage in Darfur, in lawless western Sudan.

A conference in Brussels on Tuesday attended by the European Union, the United States and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will urge Sudan to allow a U.N. mission to replace an ill-equipped and over-extended African Union force in an attempt to stop the violence.

"A U.N. operation is the only viable and realistic option in Darfur in the long term," the European Union will say on the eve of the meeting according to a draft declaration obtained by Reuters.