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Slovenian President Calls for Quick UN Humanitarian Intervention in Darfur


The President of the Republic of Slovenia, Janez Drnovsek, met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Wednesday to urge the United Nations to take stronger steps to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Mr. Drnovsek says it is time for the world to wake up and take decisive action to ease the deteriorating situation in Darfur.

More than 100,000 people have died and more than tw -million have been displaced in the three-year conflict between Janjaweed militia supporting the Khartoum government and rebels in Darfur. And, Mr. Drnovsek says, the conflict is intensifying and spreading as neighboring Chad becomes involved.

Mr. Drnovsek says the six-thousand troop mission of the African Union in Darfur is not sufficient to enforce security in an area the size of France. He says the Security Council needs to consider more decisive measures, including a U.N. mandate.

"I urged Secretary General Kofi Annan to organize a stronger force to insure the security of the civilians of Darfur and the security also of humanitarian workers so that humanitarian activities could continue. The Security Council should address the situation urgently, undertaking necessary measures transforming this mission of the African Union to the mission of the United Nations and adding additional troops from different countries to the African troops that are already on the ground," he said.

Mr. Drnovsek has sent letters to heads of governments and international organizations such as NATO, calling for an international conference on the crisis in Darfur.

Slovenia, he says, has no special interests in Darfur. The small Balkan nation has offered to provide provisions for 10-thousand refugees and send a field hospital. But Mr. Drnovsek says the efforts showed him that humanitarian aid is not enough.

"It is time to act. After three years, it is time to act. Otherwise, this humanitarian tragedy will become even greater. We must recall the situations in Rwanda and Bosnia, genocides there and this situation is becoming similar. After these genocides, the international community said that it should never happen again. But now it is happening again," he said.

Mr. Drnovsek is traveling to Sudan in mid-February to meet with top government leaders. He says he has also requested meetings with Chad's leadership, but has yet to receive a response.

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