Darfur issue towards peaceful breakthrough: Sudanese official

CAIRO, Jun 19, 2007 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Visiting Sudanese Minister of Information and Communication Zahawi Ibrahim Malek said on Tuesday that the Darfur issue was moving towards a peaceful breakthrough, the Egyptian official MENA news agency reported.

The world will be surprised to see Sudan's arrangements to help close ranks to achieve a settlement of the Darfur issue, but he did not give any further details.

Malek made the remarks upon his arrival here to take part in the 40th ordinary session of the Council of Arab Ministers of Information which is scheduled to open in Cairo on Wednesday.

A delegation of the UN Security Council announced following their meetings with Sudanese officials in Khartoum last Sunday that they had reached an agreement on deploying a hybrid peacekeeping force to be under UN command.

After meetings with Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and Foreign Minister Lam Akol, some members of the UN delegation said that Sudanese officials had made an unconditional commitment to the new force.

However, Sudan's Alwan daily reported earlier on Tuesday that Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has denied the acceptance of deploying the hybrid force commanded by the United Nations in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

The hybrid force to be deployed by the UN and the African Union (AU) in Darfur will be commanded by Africa and its troops would mainly come from African countries, Bashir was quoted as saying.

At a two-day meeting in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa last week, the AU, the UN and Sudan reached an agreement on the deployment of a hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur.

The Sudanese government has said that it was up to the UN now to adopt a resolution to finance the 20,000-strong force.