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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Friday 25 March 2005

SUDAN: Security Council votes to send peacekeepers to south

NAIROBI, 25 Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to send 10,000 troops and more than 700 civilian police to reinforce the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

The new UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) would be deployed for an initial period of six months and would be expected to be a liaison and coordinating point with the UN African mission in Sudan, according to the United States-sponsored resolution.

UNMIS' mandate also includes monitoring and verifying the ceasefire agreement, helping to set up the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme for ex-combatants, as well as promoting national reconciliation and human rights.

The SPLM/A and the government of Sudan signed a peace accord on 9 January, ending 21 years of civil strife in southern Sudan, a war that killed an estimated two million people and displaced more than four million southern Sudanese.

"Let us be clear - the people of Sudan, the donor community and the United Nations face extraordinary challenges in implementing the peace agreement," Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, said in a message to the Council read by UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Marie Guehenno. "Serious political hurdles still confront the peace process and we must have the full cooperation of the parties to overcome them."

Annan warned that the mission would face unprecedented logistical obstacles in setting up the operation in the harsh Sudanese environments.

The announcement follows a request for troops in the troubled western Sudanese region of Darfur by Jan Pronk, head of the UN mission in Sudan on Wednesday. Pronk said civilians and aid workers in Darfur needed several thousand troops to protect them as they provide humanitarian assistance to the large, internally displaced population in the area.

The resolution emphasised that no military action could solve the problems in Darfur and called on the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebel groups to resume peace talks as soon as possible and without preconditions in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Council also stressed that all the UN regulations for strict and appropriate peacekeeper conduct had to be observed.


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