The UN said it has received pledges of troops and police for a predominantly African peacekeeping force to help end the four-year conflict in Darfur that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, which would meet a key Sudanese demand.
The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the new Department of Field Support issued a preliminary list of countries that have offered military and police personnel for the 26,000-strong joint African Union (AU)-UN force. It includes a large number of countries from Africa, several from Asia, one from the Middle East and none from the West.
"We are hitting the target of a predominantly African force and we're very pleased about that," Assistant Secretary-General Jane Holl Lute, acting head of the Department of Field Support, said on Tuesday.
The UN Security Council authorized the "hybrid" force a week ago after months of delay in getting agreement from the Sudanese government.
It is the first joint peacekeeping operation by the AU and the UN and will replace the beleaguered 7,000-strong AU force now in Darfur no later than Dec. 31.
Lute, a lawyer and retired US army officer who was formerly on the staff of the US National Security Council, said she was very pleased with the number of infantry battalions pledged at an "extraordinary" meeting last week of potential troop and police contributing countries.
But she said the hybrid force still needs aviation and ground transport units.
The list of potential troop contributors includes Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Egypt, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, Jordan, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand. The list of countries offering at least 50 police officers includes Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria and Pakistan.
The UN stressed that these countries may or may not be included in the final force, which must be decided by Aug. 30 under the terms of the UN resolution.
Meanwhile, a senior official said that Sudan will have to accept non-African troops in the peacekeeping force for Darfur or face the prospect of new UN sanctions.
Although efforts will be made to ensure that Africa contributes a large percentage of the 26,000-strong mission, the continent does not have enough trained soldiers to fully staff the force and Sudan will be penalized unless it drops objections to non-African participation, Andrew Natsios, the US special envoy for Sudan, said on Tuesday.
US President George W. Bush has made ending the Darfur conflict a US foreign policy priority but the US is reluctant to provide troops itself for the force, given military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead, Washington is likely to contribute logistics and transportation to the mission.
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of