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Peacekeepers For Darfur

The U.S. and Britain introduced a draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the deployment of U-N peacekeepers to the Darfur region of western Sudan. Jackie Sanders, the deputy U.S. envoy to the U-N, says the U.S. hopes to, "get a resolution adopted quickly and unanimously."

The U.S. strongly believes a large, mobile, fast-reacting, and robust U-N force, with African Union forces forming its core and to include Africans in key leadership positions, must deploy without delay to stop the fighting and protect civilians and humanitarian workers. U-N peacekeepers are needed to allow for continued and full implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement. They’re also vital to providing a safe and secure environment where internally displaced persons and refugees of Darfur can return to their homes.

The African Union decided to transition its seven-thousand member force in Darfur to a U-N peacekeeping mission back in March. Sima Samar, a U-N Commission on Human Rights investigator, says as the security situation deteriorates in Darfur and the population becomes increasingly vulnerable, she is, "concerned that the government has not taken the necessary action to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected communities."

U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council that there has been an upsurge in violence. He said July was, "a harrowing month" for relief workers with thirty-six reported attacks on aid operations and nine humanitarian assistance workers killed.

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. The government and the largest Darfur rebel group signed a peace agreement on May 5, 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria.

Overall, the U.S. has provided more than one-billion-six-hundred-million dollars in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance in Darfur. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that in Darfur, "the world needs to act":

"Everybody recognizes that you need a more robust force that's going to come from the U-N and we are pressing very hard to get that moving."

President George W. Bush has said, "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.