New York- UN (PANA) -- The UN, the African Union (AU) and the Sudanese government are to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday, to finalise a UN "heavy support package" to boost the AU mission in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said.
"Monday's meeting is not intended to re-negotiate the heavy support package, the second phase of the three-step process culminating in the eventual deployment of a hybrid UN-AU force," Ban told reporters after briefing the Security Council late Thursday on his 11-day Middle East trip.
"As Khartoum has made certain reservations on my proposals, this meeting will be used to clarify and for an exchange of views on this heavy support package," he said.
According to Ban: "We hope that, through these consultative meetings, we will be able to deploy hybrid forces as soon as possible.
" The Security Council was also briefed on the work of its sanctions committee on Sudan by the committee's chairman, Marcello Spatafora of Italy.
The Addis Ababa will follow talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, last week involving Ban, Sudanese President Omar El-Bashir, the AU, and the League of Arab States, which agreed a re-doubling of efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict through the three-phase plan leading to the deployment of the hybrid peacekeeping force in the region.
The AU's African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) currently in Darfur, envisages a 7,000-strong force.
Under the three-phase plan, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is providing AMIS with a "light support package" that includes police advisers, civilian staff, additional resources and technical support.
The heavy support package would involve "several hundred" UN personnel assisting AMIS and some logistic support, while the proposed UN-AU hybrid force will comprise some 17,000 troops and 3,000 police officers.
Meanwhile, Ban is expected another high-level meeting on the Darfur crisis, here 16-17 April, with the AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare, the UN Special Envoy on Darfur, Jan Eliasson, and his AU counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim.