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UN Secretary General Pledges Darfur Pressure


United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he will put pressure on Sudan to find a solution for the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region. For VOA, Franz Wild reports from Kisangani in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the U.N. chief spoke to reporters before continuing on to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

Before flying to the Ethiopian capital, Mr. Ban told journalists he planned to discuss the Darfur crisis with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on the fringes of the African Union summit.

"The international community cannot just ignore and delay this situation, prolong the situation, while millions of people are suffering," said Ban Ki-moon. "I will urge him [President Bashir] to make concrete commitments and these commitments should be put into action."

The Sudanese president is under increasing international pressure to allow a hybrid African and United Nations force for the Darfur region.

Mr. Ban said the first phase of a three-phase plan was already nearly completed. Under the plan, several U.N. and African Union military and civilian staff would be sent to Darfur, preparing the ground for at least 10,000 peacekeepers.

More than 200,000 people have died and more than two million others have been displaced since fighting between Darfur rebels and Sudan's government began in early 2003.

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