African Union Mission to transfer authority to UNAMID on Monday

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- The United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will formally take over from the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) on Monday, at a ceremony at the new mission's headquarters in El Fasher.
According to a press release issued by UN/AU joint Mission, the transfer of authority, which is in accordance with the timeline specified in UN Security Council resolution 1769 of 31 July 2007, will comprise a signing ceremony between both parties in the presence of a representative of the Sudanese Government.
In addition, AU troops will exchange their green headgear for the UN's blue beret.
Speaking of the upcoming transfer of authority, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of UNAMID, Rodolphe Adada said: "The situation in Darfur will not be transformed overnight.
"However, we are optimistic that the deployment of UNAMID will help begin to improve the security situation in Darfur and create a climate favourable to the achievement of a negotiated settlement of the conflict, the distribution of humanitarian assistance to millions of displaced Darfurians and ultimately the development of the region.
" The new mission, authorized by the UN Security Council on 31 July 2007, will be the UN's largest peacekeeping operation, with some 20,000 troops and more than 6,000 police and civilian staff.
Some 9,000 uniformed personnel are on the ground now, including 7,000 troops and 1,200 police serving with the AMIS, which was established in 2004 to help bring peace to Darfur, as well as United Nations soldiers and police officers serving as part of the UN's "heavy" and "light support packages" deployed to support AMIS over the last year.
It presently comprises 10 infantry battalions of Rwandan, South African, Nigerian and Senegalese troops.
They are complemented by a Kenyan Military Police unit, a Force HQ Company from Gambia, a Chinese engineering company and more than 1,000 individual police officers from more than 25 countries and a Formed Police Unit (FPU) from Bangladesh.
Troops from Egypt, Pakistan and Ethiopia, plus an FPU from Nepal are expected to deploy over the next two months.
At the same time, UN officials have cautioned that the equipment necessary to support the troops is still lacking, particularly air planes such as helicopters, and have appealed to member states to close this critical gap.
The deployment of the UN-AU peacekeeping mission is complemented by joint efforts on the political front.
The UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, and the AU Special Envoy for Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim, are pursuing a political settlement to the Darfur crisis through negotiations aimed at a achieving a peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Darfurian movements.
More than 50 AU troops have lost their lives in Darfur since 2004, with 12 killed as the result of an attack at Haskanita, South Darfur last September.

30 december 2007 09:46:00

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