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Annan to co-chair AU donor conference

5/16/2005 9:55am

NAIROBI, 16 May 2005 (IRIN) - UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will co-chair a pledging conference for the African Mission in Sudan (AMIS), which will be convened by the African Union (AU) on 26 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a UN spokeswoman told reporters.

"Secretary-General Kofi Annan is pleased to announce that, together with the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, he will be chairing a high-level donors’ meeting in support of the AU Mission in Sudan, which is deployed in [the western Sudanese region of] Darfur," Marie Okabe, said in New York on Friday.

"The conference is a follow-up to the decision of the [AU] Peace and Security Council of 28 April 2005, which authorised the enhancement of AMIS and also requested the Commission to engage all potential contributors within the international community to mobilize the necessary additional support," the AU said in a statement on Friday.

Representatives of more than 60 countries and international organisations met in Oslo, Norway, in April to support the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, which was signed in Nairobi on 9 January.

The donors pledged more than US $4.5 billion in humanitarian and development assistance for 2005 to 2007, far exceeding estimated needs, but called for a swift resolution of the ongoing conflict in Darfur.

The Addis Ababa conference was intended to provide as much international support as possible for the AU mission in Darfur, Okabe said.

The UN Security Council had said stability in Darfur in the short term would require considerable strengthening of AMIS - which currently consists of 2,409 troops and 244 police - and supported an AU decision to expand its mission in Darfur to 7,731 personnel by the end of September 2005.

The UN Mission in Sudan, in its situation report on Sunday, said it continued to receive reports of armed attacks, banditry and insecurity across the region of Darfur.

On 14 May, the AU reported an alleged armed-militia attack at about 20 km east of Karamje in South Darfur state during which two people were killed.

In West Darfur, the AU quoted the Sudanese police commander in Selea village as saying a group of nomads stole 25 cows and 121 goats and sheep on 7 May. The police found one man dead and 3 others injured after the raid.

Meanwhile, the leaders of Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Chad, Gabon and Nigeria, the current chair of the AU, were attending a mini-summit on the Darfur crisis in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The summit aimed at setting up an atmosphere conducive to negotiation before the resumption of talks between the rebel movements and the government, which are expected later this month in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, under the auspices of the AU.

The war in Darfur pits Sudanese troops and militias - allegedly allied to the government - against rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state.

Over 2.4 million people continue to be affected by the conflict, 1.86 million of whom are internally displaced or have been forced to flee to neighbouring Chad.

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