Sudan: More Gestures, Less Peace

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January1, 2007: The US government announced that it will continue to prepare to implement political and economic sanctions on Sudan. The US said the sanctions "package" is the threat that forced Sudan to agree to the UN's "three phase" program.

December 28, 2006: The first uniformed contingent of UN observer troops arrived in Sudan's Darfur region. Thirteen military officers and 12 police officers deployed in El Fasher (North Darfur) to help the AU peacekeeping force. Another 13 UN uniformed personnel were expected to deploy elsewhere in Darfur.

December 27, 2006: The Sudan government ever so slightly shifted its political stance regarding UN troops involvement in Darfur. Facing a January1, 2007 deadline (after which Sudan would face economic and political sanctions), the Sudan government agreed to allow 38 UN observers to deploy in Darfur. These observers will deploy immediately to Darfur. The UN contingent will grow to 105 troops and policemen sometime in January 2007. However, the Sudanese agreement doesn't appear to allow for a UN-African Union peacekeeping force. However, what Sudan has agreed to doesn't look all that different from "phase one" of the UN's "three phase" peacekeeping plan. However, a Sudan government spokesman said that Sudan had agreed to a "three phases of support" by the UN for the AU peacekeeping force. Expect further diplomatic wrangling as the UN observer mission deploys.

December 26, 2006: China announced that it would rotate in new troops to replace its 435-soldier peacekeeping contingent in south Sudan. The Chinese force includes logistics specialists, medical teams, and engineers.

December 24, 2006: The rebel National Resistance Front (NRF) claimed that its forces had fought with Sudan government troops and janjaweed militiamen in the town of Kutum (North Darfur). The rebel statement said that the government troops and militia attacked a village (near Kutum) and killed seven people The NRF force then drove the attackers away. A Sudan government military spokesman later claimed that the NRF had launched an attack near Kutum and four government soldiers were killed. There are very few journalists in the area and communications throughout Darfur are iffy. The claims and counter-claims by belligerents are typical. The one thing everyone agrees upon is that Kutum has been the scene of fighting since the middle of December.

 

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