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ICC NOTE: The EU and other world powers are finally pushing to send in UN troops to Darfur , a decision long overdue. The Sudanese government is resisting, because of the threat of accountability for their actions.

Sudan , EU set for clash over UN troops for Darfur

Mon Jul 17, 2006

By Mohammed Abbas

For the full article go to: Reuters – Sharp differences emerged on Monday between Sudan and the international community over the purpose of an upcoming conference world powers say is aimed at pushing for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur .

A draft pre-conference EU declaration obtained by Reuters said the European Union, the United States and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will urge Sudan to allow a U.N. mission into Darfur to replace an African Union (AU) force that has been unable to stem the violence Washington called genocide.

A senior EU official said the Brussels meeting on Tuesday would also seek funding for the AU mission until it is replaced by U.N. troops.

But Sudanese officials said the sole aim of the meeting is to secure more money for the under-funded AU peacekeeping mission in its sprawling west, where tens of thousands have been killed in three years of fighting.

“The delegation which left today is going to discuss with the EU what support is needed for AU forces … (a U.N. force) is not the issue of the meeting,” Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jamal Ibrahim told Reuters.

Omar Adam Rahama, a member of Sudan ‘s negotiation and implementation team for the Darfur peace deal reached in May with one rebel faction, was optimistic the country could get more AU funding without any concessions that would increase the likelihood of a future U.N. deployment.

“I’m very optimistic that they will support the AU mission … because it’s the right thing to be done,” he said.

The under-equipped 7,000-strong AU force is struggling to keep the peace in Darfur, an area the size of France , and has complained of escalating attacks against its troops.

The AU had wanted to hand over to the United Nations at the end of September but its leaders decided earlier this month to extend its mission for three more months because of Sudan’s opposition to any U.N. deployment.

Sudan has likened a U.N. military presence to a Western invasion. Analysts say Khartoum fears U.N. soldiers would arrest any official or militia leader likely to be indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.