Tuesday, August 29, 2006
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir again rejected calls for him to accept a U.N. force in the Darfur region of Sudan, while the United States pushed for a vote on a U.N. resolution to provide up to 17,300 U.N. troops for such a mission.
John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters that he saw progress among U.N. Security Council members in reaching a resolution agreeable to all 15 -- including "a clear desire" on the part of all the five veto-wielding members, "including Russia and China, to move this forward."
British diplomats said the latest draft resolution -- to be discussed Wednesday for a possible vote on Thursday -- would make more explicit than previous versions that deployment of the U.N. force would be in cooperation with the government of Sudan.
But the Sudanese government renewed previous rejections of a transfer from an African Union force to a U.N. force.
Al-Beshir met on Tuesday with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, who came to Sudan to push him to accept the U.N. force.
Bolton said the plan was to pass the resolution and "continue the work" of No Security Council member was willing to provide a force to "fight its way in" to Sudan.
The resolution would establish a new U.N. peacekeeping mission but a separate decision would have to be taken by the Security Council on deployment.
The mandate for the African Union troops in Darfur expires on September 1.
According to the draft resolution, a handover to a U.N. force would begin on October 1 and be completed by January 2007.
African nations are expected to be the main providers of any U.N. Darfur force.
Violence erupted three years ago in Darfur, when ethnic African rebels took up arms over what they saw as neglect by the Arab-dominated central government.
The Sudanese government is accused of responding by unleashing Arab militias called Janjaweed, which have systematically raped women and pillaged entire villages in a campaign the United States and other nations has branded genocide.
Violence has increased in the Darfur region of Sudan despite a May 5 peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the largest of three rebel groups -- the Sudan Liberation Army.
Atrocities have included the abuse of children, sexual violence against women and attacks on humanitarian workers, according to the United Nations.
Nine humanitarian workers have been killed in the past month, more than 200 women have been raped at a Darfur refugee camp in the past five weeks, and on Saturday two soldiers with the African Union's mission were killed by an unidentified group of men.
The financially strapped African Union force of 7,000 troops has been unable to quell the violence in Darfur.
This article was written by CNN.
Category: Darfur, Sudan, UN and USA.