Secretary-General calls for more resources for Darfur peacekeeping mission
5 February 2008 –With the crisis in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region continuing, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed for more troops and vital equipment to support the critically under-strength joint UN-African Union force (UNAMID) stem the violence.
Addressing the press after briefing the Security Council in closed session, Mr. Ban urged troop-contributing nations to hasten their preparations, saying “we need our forces in the theatre of operations as soon as possible.”
The new force “still lacks required aviation and ground transportation–chiefly helicopters,” he noted, adding that sheer manpower alone is not enough to overcome the equipment deficit.
Additionally, the Secretary-General observed that nations that called for intervention in Darfur “are under a special obligation to deliver on their promises.”
At full deployment, UNAMID is expected to have some 26,000 troops and police officers, making it the world’s largest peacekeeping operation.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes since fighting began in 2003 among Government forces, rebel groups and allies militia groups known as the Janjaweed.
Mr. Ban said that he discussed the major outstanding issues regarding they hybrid mission last week with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“I am pleased to report that we are making good progress on the Status of Forces Agreement,” he told reporters, adding that the Government has signalled that the signing could happen this week.
Despite this step forward, the Secretary-General emphasized that “the deployment of UNAMID will only be as effective as the political process it is mandated to support,” and to this end, his special envoys for Darfur will continue with their efforts to hold talks between the Sudanese Government and rebel movements.
UN news centre