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AU says money running out for Darfur mission

12/16/2005 10:48pm

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union (AU) warned on Friday its 6,000-strong peace mission in Sudan's Darfur region was facing a serious financial crisis with resources available only for the next few months.

"As of today, we (the African Union) have only resources in cash to maintain the Darfur mission until the end of March or early April next year," Ambassador Djinnit Said, Commissioner for Peace and Security, told a news conference.

The AU troops and police are trying to stop escalating violence in the region. But those in charge say they lack the vehicles and communications equipment needed to operate effectively in a desert region the size of France.

Djinnit was speaking at a news conference with Tim Clark, head of the European Mission to Ethiopia, following a signing of an agreement for an additional 70 million euros for the mission.

"There are some indications that other partners might provide additional financial assistance," Djinnit added.

He called the EU's contribution to the AU "the financial backbone of Africa's emerging peace and security effort."

Tens of thousands have been killed during the revolt in Sudan's remote west and more than 2 million have fled their homes during a campaign of widespread rape, killings and burning of villages that rebels blame on pro-government militias.

(Reporting by Tsegaye Tadesse)

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