No Protection for Darfur from 30 September - AU to Pull Out Aegis Trust (Retford, UK) PRESS RELEASEJuly 7, 2006 Posted to the web July 7, 2006
Because World leaders cannot make a decision on Darfur, the little protection there is for civilians in this western region of Sudan will be gone in three months.
Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, Head of the African Union Mission in Darfur, confirmed yesterday that contrary to widespread media reports, the AU will pull its troops out of Darfur on 30 September unless Sudan gives its consent for a transition to a UN force.
"The African Union Peace and Security Council did take a decision that the mandate of the African Union forces would be ended on the 30th of September," he stated in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, London. "There is no change to that date."
Addressing mistaken reports that the AU had now decided to stay on to 31 December, he added, "What could have been misunderstood as a change of that date to the end of the year is the address given by Kofi Annan, in which he requested that the African Union should consider extending its mandate to 31st December. But at the end of the day, 30th of September was retained."
Speaking to the Aegis Trust, Ambassador Kingibe stated, "If the Government of the Sudan gives its consent for a UN deployment, we will be willing to hold the fort until such time as the UN is ready and able to come in." (Aegis' interview with the Ambassador can be viewed online at www.aegistrust.org)
Aegis calls for UN intervention with or without Sudan's consent
In the wake of Ambassador Kingibe's comments and recent developments, the Aegis Trust is calling for a UN force to be sent to Darfur under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, with or without Sudan's consent, comprising troops from middle powers.
Aegis is calling for the objectives of this UN force to include securing humanitarian access to the three million people dependent on international aid; providing protection for the women, who are daily attacked and raped; and securing the safe return of the 2.5 million displaced people back to their land across Darfur.
To meet these objectives, Aegis recommends that the force be authorised to neutralise the Janjaweed militia, facilitate implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement, and arrest anyone indicted by the ICC.
"We said that the situation in Darfur is going from bad to worse, and the AU pull-out scheduled for 30 September is the worst news possible," says Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust.
"It will be better if the Sudanese Government agrees to an orderly transition to a UN force, but provision of international protection for Darfur's civilians cannot be left at the mercy of Khartoum. Far from protecting its citizens, Khartoum has already demonstrated its readiness to systematically destroy them.
"Whether or not the nations of the UN Security Council move beyond reliance on Khartoum's consent will show quite clearly whether or not the international commitment to the "responsibility to protect" - made at the World Summit in September 2005 - is worth more than the paper it's written on. Twelve weeks are left. It's decision-time - today."
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