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Sudan Accepts UN Support Package for Darfur

Sudan has agreed to accept an offer from the United Nations to support the African Union mission in Darfur. The move is a badly-needed compromise following Sudan's refusal to allow the AU to transfer its mandate to the U.N., despite intense international pressure.

Sudan has agreed to accept a U.N. support package, which is said to include about 100 U.N military advisors and help with communications, transportation and staffing in the embattled Darfur region.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and African Union Peace & Security Council Chairman Alpha Omer Konare, sent a joint letter to Sudanese President Omer Al Bashir late last month, appealing to Sudan to accept U.N. support.

Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ali Sadiq told VOA that the move is a compromise aimed at keeping the AU in Darfur.

"This means what Sudan has suggested earlier: that the African Union should be strengthened and supported to continue its mandate in Darfur," he said.

Sudan's acceptance of U.N. support is a much needed compromise.

Darfur has descended even further into violence in recent days.

The African Union reported this week that violent clashes between rebel groups in Darfur have put tens of thousands of civilians at risk.

Sudan has continued to refuse a full U.N. transfer, likening the world body to colonizers.

The African Union mission voted last month to remain in Darfur until the end of December, in order to prevent a security vacuum.

But the AU stressed it would need financial and logistical support.

The conflict has raged since rebels attacked government positions in Darfur complaining that the remote region remained undeveloped due to neglect.

Sudan is charged with arming militias to crush the rebellion using a savage campaign of rape and murder.

Tens of thousands have died and some two million more have been displaced in Darfur and eastern Chad.