Friday, May 25, 2007

U.N.-AU draw up plans for large Darfur force

By Evelyn Leopold
Friday, May 25, 2007; 8:55 AM

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations and the African Union drew up plans for a peacekeeping force for Darfur of more than 23,000 troops, police and other personnel to protect civilians and be able to use force to deter violence.

The so-called AU-UN "hybrid" force still has to be approved by the U.N. Security Council and the AU's Peace and Security Committee and then submitted to the Sudanese government.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the Security Council could adopt a statement as early as Friday on the 40-page plan.

"I think that is a positive development," he said. "Now the ball will be in Sudan's court."

Sudan has not rejected the force but various top officials have said the number of troops were too large and that the United Nations should finance and augment the African Union force of 7,000 with logistics, command and control functions, transport and financing. more

To stay up to date on the crisis in Darfur visit The Coalition for Darfur