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UN chief urges help for expansion of AU mission in Sudan's Darfur

5/10/2005 6:28am

UNITED NATIONS, May 9, 2005 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan is effective where deployed and needs strengthening to enable it to expand its presence to cover more of the vast and difficult terrain in Darfur, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report released Monday.
The AU mission has accomplished a remarkable amount in a very short time and despite significant constraints, Annan said in his report to the Security Council on how the UN can assist the AU's efforts to foster peace in troubled Darfur.

Dafur has been plagued by a two-year long conflict between the government, its allied militias and rebels, which has killed tens of thousands of people and uprooted 1.8 million people from their homes, some 200,000 of them over the border to neighboring Chad.

Describing the current situation in Darfur as "misleading," Annan said that while attacks on civilians are not occurring on the massive scale encountered in 2004, the violence continued and the general level on insecurity remained unacceptable.

At the same time, the AU mission is doing an "outstanding job" under very difficult circumstances and therefore needed to be strengthened in three phases in order to expand its work.

He also outlined a complex multi-dimensional, 12,000-strong operation to contribute to a secure environment in Darfur which will permit full returns of displaced persons in time for the 2006 planting season.

The African Union currently has more than 3,000 monitors in Darfur to oversee the implementation of a truce between the warring parties.

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