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African Union Extends Darfur Mission Through September


The African Union has extended its peacekeeping mission in Darfur, giving it more time to break an impasse over whether the United Nations should take over the job.

The AU said Friday its forces would remain in the troubled western Sudanese region until at least September 30. It said it supports a U.N. takeover of the mission "in principle," but did not set a date for when that could happen.

The African Union has been under intense international pressure to hand over Darfur peacekeeping duties to a larger, better-equipped U.N. force.

But Sudan said such action would hamper its peace talks with Darfur rebels and said it would only allow it after a peace deal is in place.

The Darfur peace talks in Nigeria have been stalled for months amid disputes between the rebel groups.

Three years of war involving rebels, government forces and government-backed Janjaweed militias in Darfur have killed an estimated 180,000 people and driven two million others from their homes.

The AU force of 7,000 in Darfur suffers from a lack of funding, and has been unable to stop violence in the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.