- The African Union (Official Site)
- Sudan delegation returns; Findings reflect new UN report: no genocide in Darfur (FCN, 02-10-2005)
- In Harlem, a discussion on the Sudan (FCN, 11-23-2004)
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (PANA) – An international pledging conference for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) ended here May 26, expressing greater solidarity, but leaving issues of financial and material support to be sorted out soon.
“I have the feeling that the amount that has been requested can be obtained,” AU Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare told journalists at the end of the conference in Addis Ababa. “Many States and organizations are ready to make up for the gap, so that we can deal with the humanitarian situation, not only in Darfur, but also in neighboring Chad.
The AU plans to deploy as soon as possible at least 6,000 troops and 1,500 civilian police in Darfur. It asked international partners to contribute around $500 million for its peace operations in the region. This is the first time that the AU has undertaken a peace operation of that magnitude in a conflict area in Africa.
“What we saw today is the type of international solidarity that we need,” UN secretary-general Kofi Annan remarked at the same press conference. Admitting that not all conflict situations were treated equally, he said the Darfur crisis, like a tsunami, has caught the imagination of the international community.
On the same note, Mr. Konare said: “I think as far as we are concerned, we regret that we did not act earlier and we did not use our right of non-interference. The AU has to learn lessons and this is our first experience.”
From the Darfur experience, Mr. Annan said he would propose to the UN General Assembly to establish a humanitarian fund “to enable us to move into such situations faster. We can and we should do better.”
During the meeting, some African countries made symbolic pledges to support the AU mission. Ghana said it would provide an additional 250 civilian police and $20,000 to the AU effort in Darfur. Mauritania promised to contribute $50,000 besides putting 30 civilian police at the disposal of AMIS. Of these, 15 police elements are already serving in Darfur under the AU Mission.
Nigeria said it would increase its military contingent by an additional 1,452 troops to make a full battalion for the enhancement of AMIS.
Major international partners of the AU praised the AU lead to protect civilians and humanitarian aid workers in Darfur and welcomed the appointment of Salim Ahmed Salim of Tanzania to head the mediation process.
“After the AU took the lead to ensure security, we are seeing improved working conditions for humanitarian operations. Now, the international involvement is needed to find a durable solution to the conflict in Darfur,” said the delegate of Norway.