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Kuwait to send 150 troops as part of UN Sudan mission

5/12/2005 6:38am

KUWAIT CITY, May 11, 2005 (AP) -- Kuwait will send 150 soldiers to Sudan , as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission to monitor a peace deal between the Sudanese government and southern rebels, the defense minister said Wednesday.

Sheik Jaber Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah, quoted by the state news agency, underlined that the troops wouldn't be deployed in Darfur, the large area of western Sudan that is torn by conflict between other rebel groups and government troops and their militia allies.

Sudan and the southern rebels struck a peace deal in January ending a 21-year civil war, and the U.N. is sending a force of 10,700 peacekeepers to help monitor the agreement.

Sheik Jaber said the Kuwaiti Cabinet approved a deployment in principle in response to a U.N. request and that the troops are ready to go.

Darfur has been the scene of violence since February 2003, resulting in one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. An estimated 180,000 people have died in the upheaval that erupted when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. Pro-government militias are accused of widespread atrocities during the conflict. Some 2 million have been displaced in the violence.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a report Friday the mission to Sudan would only be able to offer limited help to an African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur in the coming months because it needed to focus all its attention on monitoring the north-south peace deal.

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