Sudan reiterates opposition to replacing AU troop with UN forces in Darfur

The Sudanese government reiterated Friday that it opposes the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur to replace the African Union troops currently stationed there, according to a statement issued by the Sudanese embassy here.

The statement came one day after Britain and the United States circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution, calling for a substitution of the 7,000-strong AU peacekeepers with a 17,000-member UN force.

Under the resolution sponsored by Britain and the United States, the UN force will use "all necessary means" to prevent disruption of the implementation of the peace agreement reached by armed groups to "protect civilians under threat of physical violence."

It also asks UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to work out a plan and timetable with the African Union for a transition and deployment of reinforcements.

The statement criticized some countries for pressuring Sudan to accept the blue-helmet force, accusing them of running against the new spirit of peace.

It said as a pan-African organization, the African Union should be preferred in handling issues in the region, noting the Darfur Peace Agreement reached in early May contains no word for the involvement of a UN peacekeeping force.

Praising the performance of the AU contingent, the statement urged the international community to provide more financial support to the troops so that they can continue the mission.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Darfur region since 2003, when ethnic tribes revolted against the government.

Source: Xinhua

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