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Sudan Says It May Accept Extension of AU Peacekeeping Force in Darfur


Sudanese officials have signaled they will accept an extension of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

The mission is set to expire September 30 to make way for a possible United Nations mission that would be larger and better equipped.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has rejected a resolution to send in U.N. peacekeepers, likening them to a foreign occupation force.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council opened its meeting in Geneva Monday calling for international peacekeepers in Darfur.

High Commissioner for Refugees Louise Arbour criticized the Sudanese government and rebels for failing to protect civilians. Arbour said the International Criminal Court would prosecute anyone who breaks international humanitarian law.

Seven thousand AU peacekeepers have been unable to stop rampant violence in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Three years of fighting between ethnic minority rebels and militias tied to the Arab dominated government has killed about 20,000 people and driven two million more from their homes.

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