Sudan's government has renewed its opposition to the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur.
Speaking at an African Union meeting Monday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol said the Darfur peace agreement signed earlier this month by his government and the largest rebel group, the Sudanese Liberation Movement, does not mention U.N. forces.
He said Sudan is ready to give the United Nations a role in the region, but his government is determined to keep the Darfur security program within the African Union.
In an article in The Financial Times Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for deploying a U.N. force in the troubled region as soon as possible.
The African Union has requested help from U.N. forces, and the U.N. Security Council has authorized an international peacekeeping force in the Darfur region.
There are roughly 7,000 African Union security forces in Darfur.
Two rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement and a faction of the SLM have not signed the peace accord. The AU has given them until the end of the month to sign it or face the threat of international sanctions.