Saturday, March 29, 2008

Darfur Update

To help the process, the U.S. is increasing pressure on the U.N. to speed the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur, pushing for 3,600 new troops in Sudan's western region by June.

In a letter delivered Thursday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Williamson criticized delays in sending troops to Darfur, and asked the United Nations' peacekeeping department to be more flexible in its requirements for troops and equipment.

"At this crucial moment, the deployment of new troops as quickly as possible is our best hope to change the course of this tragedy," he wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times.

In an interview, Williamson said that it was "pathetic" that only 290 new personnel had arrived in Darfur since January, when the U.N. absorbed 9,000 police officers and soldiers from the African Union force already there. He suggested, among other things, that the U.N. pay for the soldiers' equipment and food rather than wait for their home countries to provide the supplies. - LA Times

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