Sudan: March 30, 2005

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The UN Security Council has finally voted on the Sudan peacekeeping troops to help enforce the south Sudan peace agreement. On March 24 the Security Council authorized the 10,000 military peacekeepers, which were recommended in February. There will also be a civilian police contingent (of up to 715 policemen). The peacekeeping operation will be called The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). A UN spokesman said in February that it is conceivable that the south Sudan peacekeeping force could "assist" African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. A UN statement dated March 24 went further than that by saying the new force might "reinforce" the Darfur effort, UNMIS' first mission is to monitor and verify the southern ceasefire agreement. It will also help demobilize "ex-combatants" (presumably SPLA guerrillas). How long will it take to put the 10,000 troops in the field? The UN said "several months." That's fair-- if several means six or more. The UN report acknowledged logistical difficulties. However, the logistics net in south Sudan can supply the 10,000 troop contingent-- there are roads and airfields that can be improved. Darfur is another matter. There is still no firm word on who will send the troops, though Japan is considering sending several thousand peacekeepers. Meanwhile, the US reported on March 23 that an American foreign aid officer was wounded in Darfur when the convoy she was in was fired upon. The aid worker has been sent to Kenya for medical treatment.

 

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