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A Peacekeeping Force In Darfur

United Nations Security Council resolution sixteen-seventy-nine endorses the African Union Peace and Security Council’s decision to move ahead with the transition to a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Darfur region of Sudan as soon as possible.

The resolution calls for the deployment of a joint African Union and U-N technical assessment mission. This is to speed the transition from the African Union Mission in Sudan to a larger, more robust U-N operation built around a core of African troops and under African leadership.

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003, after rebels complained that the region had been marginalized by the central government. Rebels attacked Sudanese government facilities. The Sudanese government responded by arming a militia called the Janjaweed. More than two-hundred-thousand people have died from fighting, famine, and disease. Some two million are living in refugee camps inside and outside Sudan.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the U.S. welcomes the passage of the Security Council resolution:

"This. . .force would help. . .stabilize the security situation in Darfur as well as be part of the implementation of the Darfur peace agreement. We are also going to be working with other members of the international community on how we can help augment the capabilities of the current A-U mission working with NATO."

In a written statement, the African Union's Peace and Security Council calls for "the commencement of the U-N operation in Darfur at the earliest possible time." John Bolton, the U-S ambassador to the U-N, says the transfer should take place quickly:

"One reason it is hard to make a more definite estimate is we have not been able to get logistical planning personnel into the Darfur region to do the work they need to do, and that is very clear from this resolution we expect this to happen immediately."

President George W. Bush urged the Sudanese government to express clear support for a U-N peacekeeping operation. Mr. Bush said, "Darfur has a chance to begin anew.. . . The vulnerable people of Darfur deserve more than sympathy. They deserve the active protection that U-N peacekeepers can provide."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.