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30 April 2005

African Union to Expand Size of Peacekeeping Force in Darfur

U.S. "looks forward" to supporting expanded force, says State's Ereli

The United States "view[s] the African Union as playing a central role in resolving the crisis in Darfur and applaud[s] its commitment to the security and humanitarian needs of the people of this region," says State Department Deputy Spokesman Adam Ereli in a April 29 Statement announcing the African Union's decision to more than double its peacekeeping force in that troubled region of Sudan.

The U.S. has contributed more than $95 million to support the mission so far, and "looks forward to supporting the expanded mission," according to the statement.

Following is a transcript of the State Department's statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
April 29, 2005

Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman

African Union to Expand Peacekeeping Mission in Sudan

The United States welcomes the African Union's April 28 decision to increase
the size of its Darfur peacekeeping force. The current 3,320 African Union
troops will expand to more than 7,700. The United States supports the
African Union's consultations with NATO on potential logistical assistance,
and calls on all African Union member states to provide additional forces to
Darfur quickly.

We view the African Union as playing a central role in resolving the crisis
in Darfur and applaud its commitment to the security and humanitarian needs
of the people of this region. The United States has already contributed
more that $95 million to support the African Union mission so far, and looks
forward to supporting the expanded mission. The United States will continue
to work with the African Union and the rest of the international community
to support efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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