New Darfur force deployed by early 2008

25th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 25, 2007 (AFP) - A new international force to end violence in Sudan's Darfur region could be deployed early next year at the latest, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Monday.

PARIS, June 25, 2007 (AFP) - A new international force to end violence in Sudan's Darfur region could be deployed early next year at the latest, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said Monday.

Morin also said that French troops will "probably" be the largest contingent of the 20,000-strong force to be deployed under the United Nations and the African Union.

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir bowed to months of pressure and agreed earlier this month to allow the AU-UN force to be deployed in Darfur, torn by fighting since February 2003.

"We must ensure the security of the Chadian zone and then see if President Beshir will accept the idea of putting forces that will ensure the stability and security of refugee camps," said Morin in an interview with French radio.

He said "a first step" towards bringing relief had been taken when France last week sent a flight carrying humanitarian aid to eastern Chad to help some 500,000 displaced Chadians and Darfur refugees.

France on Monday hosts an international conference that will bring together China, the United States and some 15 other countries in a major push to try to advance prospects for peace in the troubled region.

The war in Darfur is pitting a rebel insurgency against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum and its proxy militia known as the Janjaweed, whose leader stands accused of war crimes.

At least 200,000 people have been killed and two million driven from their homes since February 2003, according to the United Nations. Khartoum says the figures are exaggerated.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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