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UN meets with potential contributors to hybrid peace force in Darfur

29 June 2007 The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) met today with potential contributors of troops and police to the planned African Union-UN hybrid operation for the violence-wracked Darfur region in Sudan.

DPKO regarded today’s meeting as “a constructive start,” spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters, adding that it plans to hold informal discussions with the potential contributors and then another meeting after the Security Council officially authorizes the hybrid operation and establishes a mandate.

Earlier this month the Sudanese Government agreed to the deployment of a hybrid force to stem the fighting in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people are estimated to have been killed and at least 2 million others displaced from their homes since 2003, when fighting broke out between armed rebel groups, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militias.

Ms. Montas said Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno opened today’s meeting with an appeal to participants for early contributions. He said offers from African countries will be given priority but other offers will also be accepted, especially if there are not enough suitable African commitments.

The potential contributors received a briefing on the requirements for the hybrid force, which is expected to need almost 20,000 troops, more than 6,000 police and nearly 5,000 civilians at full deployment. They also heard about the logistical challenges of deploying in Darfur, a remote and impoverished region the size of France on Sudan’s western flank.

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