UN tasks member nations for Darfur peacekeeping force

New York- UN (PANA) -- UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Marie Guehenno, has called on member states to contribute troops, police and civilian personnel to the UN-AU hybrid force for the war-torn Darfur region in western Sudan.
Jean-Marie Guehenno spoke here Friday a meeting between the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and potential contributors, and appealed to participants to ensure early contributions to the planned operations in Darfur.
Guehenno, who presided the meeting, said "offers from African countries will be given priority but other offers will also be accepted, especially if there are not enough suitable African commitments".
Guehenno also told them that the hybrid force would consist of "about 20,000 troops, more than 6,000 police and nearly 5,000 civilians at full deployment".
He also informed the troop-contributing countries that the deployment would face some logistical challenges and therefore they should work towards success of the mission.
"The DPKO regarded the meeting as a constructive start," UN spokesperson Michele Montas later told reporters.
She said the department plans to hold informal discussions with the potential contributors and another meeting after the Security Council officially authorised the hybrid operation and gives it the required mandate.
Early in June, the Sudanese government agreed to the deployment of the force after it expressed reservations on its composition and commanding officer.
Recently, the UN and AU appointed Nigeria's former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.
-Gen.
Martin Agwai as the force commander.

01 july 2007 10:11:00




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