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NATO Could Offer Assistance To AU In Darfur

Published reports say NATO is drawing up proposals to help the African Union do a better job of peacekeeping in Sudan’s Darfur region.

AU President Alpha Oumar Konare is said to have made the request and is quoted as saying, “It is important we get the security situation under control very quickly.”

The African Union currently has over 33 hundred personnel in Darfur and hopes to have up to seven thousand later this year. However, Darfur is the size of France and it’s been difficult for the AU the monitor the region.

Mia Soar is with Jane’s Information Group. From London, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.

She says, “NATO has many things it could offer the African Union, particularly vis-à-vis Darfur. And there has been talk at quite high levels of NATO about perhaps using the NATO Response Force in Sudan. However, this is looking to be a little bit politically contentious and possibly could have been seen as too much of a trial run for the NATO Response Force, the NRF. Too much of a Guinea pig, as it were. And instead NATO is thinking of offering logistics support, advice and experience to the African Union so that the African Union could deploy its own troops on the frontline, with NATO backing it up.”

As to whether such assistance would set a precedent for NATO, Ms. Soar says, “I don’t think it would. For instance, we already have Poland making use of NATO logistics in Iraq, where Poland is in charge of one of the sectors. Now this was done with the alliance approval and demonstrates how flexible NATO can be to loan its expertise and its assets out to countries that need it, countries or other international organizations.”