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Bush Names Special Envoy on Darfur Violence


President Bush has named a special envoy to try to help end the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

The president is appointing Andrew Natsios, a former administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Natsios also served as special humanitarian coordinator for Sudan.

Mr. Bush announced the appointment Tuesday in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The president said the world body "must act" if Sudan continues to oppose a U.N.-led peacekeeping mission for Darfur.

Sudan has so far rejected the proposed U.N. mission, which President Omar al-Bashir has compared to a foreign occupation force.

However, VOA's correspondent at the U.N. says Sudanese officials have signaled they will allow African Union peacekeepers to stay in Darfur for another six months. The current AU peacekeeping mission expires at the end of this month.

Sudan has come under diplomatic pressure to extend the AU mandate. African Union officials say a formal decision could come on Wednesday.

Residents of Darfur have suffered from more than three years of fighting between rebel groups, government forces and government allied militias. The violence has killed an estimated 200,000 people, and displaced two million others from their homes.

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