US envoy roots for expanded AU peacekeepers in Darfur

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- An expanded African Union peacekeeping force is the best solution to manage the growing possibility of escalating insecurity within refugee camps in Sudan's western Darfur region, the United States special envoy to Sudan said here Friday.
Charles Snyder told journalists that the US has set aside $20 million to cater for an expanded AU peacekeeping force.
The US envoy said he was concerned by the emerging belief by Sudanese political groups that they can only gain political and economic equity through the barrel of the gun.
"In the worst case, if this trend continues, it could lead us into the situation like that of Somalia.
That's not a possibility but if everything goes wrong, it is a probability.
" Snyder said an increased AU peacekeeping force would be in a better position to prevent such a scenario.
He said suspended peace talks between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) as well as conclusion of peace talks between Khartoum and the two Darfur rebel groups were also important in ensuring the security of Sudan, and to prevent intrusion of that nation by terrorist groups.
Peace talks between Khartoum and the SPLA will resume on 7 October in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, according to Sudanese government negotiator Sayed el-Khatib, while talks with the Darfur rebels in Abuja, Nigeria reconvene late October.
"We need to re-motivate ourselves in re-engaging in the process of Sudan peace process because that will prevent the disintegration of Sudan to the levels of Somalia," said Snyder.
Sudan has allowed a contingent of about 360 AU peacekeepers into Darfur, but has limited their role to providing security for AU observers monitoring a ceasefire agreement among the warring groups in the region.

24 september 2004 16:23:00




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