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Sudan Government Opposes UN Plan to Deploy Peacekeepers to Darfur


The Sudanese government in Khartoum is denouncing a proposal to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping mission to restore order in the war-torn region of Darfur. The African Union and aid agencies, meanwhile, are warning that the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate.

Sudanese Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Madhi told reporters on Sunday that a draft U.N. resolution to deploy 17,000 peacekeeping troops in Sudan's Darfur region would be considered a military occupation.

The draft resolution, drawn up by Britain and supported by the United States, proposes a joint operation to help the 7,000 ill-equipped African Union peacekeeping troops.

The African Union has agreed that the United Nations should take over operations with a larger and better equipped peacekeeping force in the area.

A political analyst on Sudan, Mariam Jooma, says the potential success of any U.N. peacekeeping mission depends on the cooperation of the Sudanese parties, especially the government and the rebel factions that refused to sign a peace deal in May.

Also worrying, Jooma says, is that a U.N. mission may have wider repercussions, due to the situation in the Middle East.

"The politicization of any deployment is so likely to be manipulated by belligerents, as you've seen in Sudan," said Mariam Jooma. "President Bashir is saying, they will not allow another invasion, as they have in Iraq. I think is very worrying because whatever the good will from the United Nations, the actual deployment itself is sure to throw up questions of national authority, as well as on the war on terror."

Two African Union peacekeepers were killed in recent attacks on Saturday, and aid agencies report that the security situation has deteriorated drastically since a controversial peace agreement was signed last May. The U.N. has warned that almost 500,000 people have been cut off from emergency food aid because growing instability in the region.

Rebels and government backed militia forces have killed an estimated 250,000 people and displaced two million since the Darfur conflict broke out in 2003.

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