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Annan Warns Sudan of Security Risk


U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expressing concern over Sudan's recent refusal to allow African Union peacekeepers to remain in Darfur under a new peacekeeping force. Mr. Annan told reporters in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria that Sudan's decision was not "entirely positive" and warned Sudan of the consequences.

Kofi Annan says Sudan's refusal of a joint peace-keeping force in Darfur under U.N. control could have dire consequence for the troubled region.

"I thought they were going to stay on, but apparently they are going to leave, which leaves hanging in the air the question of what happens to the internally displaced people and the people who are in need of help in Darfur," he said. "The international community has been feeding and helping about 3 million people in camps and elsewhere, and if we have to leave because of lack of security, and lack of access to the people, then what happens?"

Sudan gave the African Union an ultimatum Monday, either find more funds to continue in Darfur or leave the region. The African Union has said it cannot continue funding peacekeeping forces without a boost of financial support.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last week that would see the control of peacekeeping transferred from the current African Union forces to the United Nations.

But Sudan has refused to allow a joint peacekeeping effort with AU forces under U.N. control, saying it would result in Washington's goal of "regime change." Mr. Annan warned Sudan that it would be held accountable for its actions.

"The government will have to assume responsibility for doing this, and if it does not succeed, it will have lots of questions to answer to the rest of the world," he explained.

The U.N. resolution calls for a deployment of 20,000 troops to help end one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The U.N. force would have a stronger mandate and more power to stop the fighting than the AU's 7,000 peacekeepers, who have struggled to police the region throughout the insurgent violence of past months.

The 3.5 year conflict has killed more than 200,000 and displaced more than 2 million.

Rebels in Darfur reported Monday that Sudanese forces continue to bomb the region daily, in what has been a weeklong offensive in the region.

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