The Republic of Congo has assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council. VOA's Suzanne Presto in New York reports that Congo indicated that African issues will be high priorities this month.

In a briefing at the United Nations Thursday, Congolese envoy Pascal Gayama said the Security Council's workload in August will likely be light, as the U.N. prepares for the General Assembly in September.

But, Gayama said Sudan's war-torn Darfur region is a top priority. Security Council members will discuss the crisis on August 9.

Speaking through a translator, Gayama said talks taking place this week in Arusha, Tanzania, will focus on the political settlement necessary for peace in Darfur. "We expect a lot from that because, as you know, the solution to the Darfur situation is not a military one. It is political. Otherwise, there would be no solution. So, it is very important that these consultations be held and that be as successful as we'd hoped," he said.

Earlier this week, the U.N. adopted a resolution to send a peacekeeping force to the Darfur region. As many as 19,000 international hybrid troops will augment the current African Union force of 7,000.

An estimated 200,000 people have been killed, and more than two million others have been displaced, in more than four years of fighting in the western Sudanese region.

Gayama said the Council will also discuss the expiration of the African Union Mission in Somalia, and will informally monitor the volatile situations in Chad and the Central African Republic. He added that the Council continues to monitor the military conflict between dissident soldiers and government forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.).

UN sanctions on the D.R.C. are set to expire next week.