Sudan

Sudan: UK to provide £19 million support to African Union Darfur mission

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The Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn said:

"The African Union mission in Darfur is doing an important job in trying to provide security for the people of Darfur who have suffered too long from this terrible conflict.

"Where the AU troops are deployed, there has been a significant improvement in the security situation. But the impact of 3000 troops is inevitably limited, which is why we fully support their decision to expand the force to more than 7700. At the same time, we recognise the essentially political nature of the crisis in Darfur and will be supporting fully the Abuja peace talks process.

"The UK has played a leading role in assisting the AU mission and I am announcing today that the UK will increase our contribution to the expansion of the mission to =A319m, from the =A36.6m contribution we announced at the AU Donors' Conference in Addis Ababa on 26 May. This brings our total contribution to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) since its inception to almost =A332m.

"We will use this money to purchase up to 500 additional vehicles and further rapid deployment equipment. As part of NATO's efforts to assist AMIS expansion, the UK is also ready - subject to AU requirements and other donors' contributions - to support the airlift, co-ordinated by NATO, of up to three battalions into Darfur. The Defence Secretary has also agreed to provide a Mobile Air Movements team of up to 15 people if required. The UK is also keen to provide the AU with technical expertise, and will be talking to the AU Secretariat and others about this.

"We are also keen to support the civilian police part of the mission. We will support the EU's efforts to offer the AU a package of support, including training for the AU police and technical experts and advisers. We will also build accommodation for AU civilian police in camps for internally displaced people and villages, so that they can be deployed where they are needed most.

"The Foreign Secretary and I also wish to announce the appointment of Mr Alan Goulty as the UK Special Representative for Darfur. He will support the African Union-led work to achieve a durable political settlement of the Darfur conflict, keeping in regular contact with all the main parties.

"Mr Goulty has an unparalleled knowledge of Sudan, deriving from his previous appointments as British Ambassador to Khartoum, Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the FCO, and, from 2002 to 2004, as the United Kingdom's Special Representative for Sudan, where he played a key role in the successful negotiations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the 21 year civil war in Sudan. He will perform his new role in addition to his current responsibilities as British Ambassador to Tunisia.

"This appointment marks the UK's continuing commitment to achieving lasting peace throughout Sudan, including in Darfur. This cannot happen without a political settlement in Darfur."