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Sudan Foreign Minister Wants International Border Patrols

Sudan's minister for foreign affairs says an existing agreement to form a special AU patrolling unit between Sudan and Chad and the Central African Republic, must be activated to monitor arms trafficking and stabilize the borders. The minister spoke in Tripoli where he attended an AU/EU conference on migration. From there, Sabina Castelfranco reports.

Khartoum's minister for foreign affairs, Mohamed El-Samani El-Wasila, says a joint patrol, under control of the African Union, must be deployed to put an end to arms smuggling between Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic.

He says the recent instability in Chad is not related to Sudan, but due to internal political developments that have led to unrest. Sudan, he added, wants stability in Chad because this affects the situation in Darfur.

"The internal political developments in Chad led to the support of the rebellious from Sudan because there are some factions in the Chadian government supporting the factions of rebellious from Darfur," he said. "And due to the fact that the border between Sudan and Chad is open and uncontrollable, and moreover we share about at least 20 tribes, so nobody can know who is who crossing."

Instability in the border areas of Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic has recently increased, and the international community says it represents a threat to the security and stability in the area.

The conflict in Darfur has also escalated with pro-government militia known as janjaweed stepping up attacks on villages. The rebellion in Darfur erupted more than three years ago. At least 250,000 people are estimated to have been killed and more than 2.5 million have fled their homes

The minister claimed there is no fighting in 80 percent of Darfur. He said rebel groups that have not yet signed a January peace deal known as the Abuja agreement must do so.

He said, "What we need now from the international community is to encourage getting on board all the factions because no matter how the volume of troops, the nationality of troops, or the composition of troops, if you bring them there in Darfur, unless you get and involve all the factions from Darfur you cannot make sure that you are going to achieve peace," he said.

Last week the Sudanese government indicated it could accept a combined force of U.N. and AU troops in Darfur. Until now, Sudan has refused this option. But outstanding issues remain and Sudan says it still wants to consult on the size of such a force and how its commander would be appointed.