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Sudan Tribune

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African MPs: Continent needs only help for Darfur AU peacekeeping

Nov 16, 2006 (MIDRAND, South Africa) — Africans hold the key in resolving local wars such as Sudan’s Darfur conflict but need foreign aid to beef up peacekeeping, lawmakers from the continent said Thursday.

Under-funded and ill-equipped African peacekeepers are struggling in Sudan to curtail the spiralling humanitarian crisis as Khartoum resists a bid to have African Union (AU) troops replaced by a United Nations force, they said.

“The solution for us as Africans is African,” Algerian MP Boudina Mostefa told a session of the Pan-African Parliament at its seat in Midrand, near Johannesburg.

“It is the African Union that must act and use armed force not foreigners. If foreign powers sincerely want to establish peace they should assist and help the AU through other means.”

According to the UN, at least 200,000 people have died in Darfur from the combined effects of fighting, famine and disease since ethnic minority rebels rose up in early 2003, drawing a scorched earth response from the government.

Some sources say the toll is much higher.

The MPs also questioned the efficacy of the Abuja peace accord, saying the deal, like many other peace agreements on the continent offered an incomplete peace as it was not accepted by all parties.

Khartoum signed the May peace deal with the largest Darfur rebel group but the other two factions which took part in the talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja declined to sign, further complicating the work of the AU force.

El Hadj Diao Kante, the chairman of the permanent committee on cooperation, international relations and conflicts, said the Pan-African Parliament should seek the full payment of 200 million dollars pledged to the African Union during a donors conference in Brussels in July.

“These resources are vital to supporting the AU’s mandate in Darfur and will be key to maintaining a formidable presence in the conflict ridden region,” Kante said.