Saturday, September 30, 2006

EU confronts Darfur conflict

Source: EU looks for common ground with Sudan on Darfur - Reuters

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and other heads of the EU met with Sudanese officials on Saturday to discuss the efforts being taken to end the conflict in Darfur – a conflict that has been raging for more than three years; recently, international peacekeepers have focused more and more attention on the crisis.

On Saturday, the African Union’s peacekeeping mandate for Darfur expired, but was promptly extended to December 31st, and the United Nations Security Council voted to send some 20,000 UN troops to continue the efforts currently being made by the AU’s 7,000 troops in Darfur. Unfortunately, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir rejected the notion of replacing the AU’s troops with those of the UN, saying it would be a violation of Sudan’s sovereignty and simply allow the West to colonize the African oil producing country.

In order to quell such complaints from officials like Bashir, various diplomats have suggested an alternative to deploying UN forces directly: an enhanced AU force with more policing power and support from the UN.

Since rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Khartoum government in 2003, accusing the latter of neglecting its citizens, more than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million displaced from the homes. Many countries continue to fear that the conflict in Darfur will spread throughout the region.


- Are there other alternatives available for dealing with the crisis in Darfur?

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