August 27, 2007 (UNITED NATIONS) — The U.N. Security Council is set to give the European Union and the U.N. a green light to prepare for a new deployment to help protect civilians in Chad and the Central African Republic caught in the spillover of the conflict in Darfur.
A council statement giving preliminary approval to the deployment of E.U. troops and U.N. police was expected to be read at a Security Council meeting Monday afternoon, council diplomats said.
The draft statement expresses the council’s readiness to authorize an international operation for a year to protect refugees, internally displaced people and civilians at risk in eastern Chad and the northeastern Central African Republic.
France’s new U.N. Ambassador, Jean-Maurice Ripert, whose country drafted the statement, expressed hope last week that the council’s approval would be followed by adoption of a resolution before the E.U. Council of Ministers meets on Sept. 17 to make a final decision on the E.U. force.
Ripert said the deployment of E.U. troops and U.N. police will probably be followed by a U.N. peacekeeping operation.
Since the Security Council visited Darfur and Chad in June 2006, the U.N. has been talking about deploying international police and troops to the two impoverished countries on the volatile border with Darfur in Sudan.
Chadian President Idriss Deby opposed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s original proposal for deployment of a U.N. military force but agreed to an E.U. force after meeting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in June.
With Deby’s approval and the E.U.’s agreement last month to start planning for a possible 3,000-strong peacekeeping mission, the pieces finally appear to be finally falling into place.
In a report to the Security Council earlier this month, Ban proposed a U.N.-mandated mission with three main components: an E.U. military force; a new unit of Chad’s police and gendarmerie to maintain law and order in refugee camps, key towns and areas with large numbers of displaced civilians in eastern Chad; and a broad U.N. presence including up to 300 international police, military liaison officers, and experts in human rights, civil affairs and the rule of law.
The secretary-general recommended that the Security Council “signal its intention to authorize the establishment” of the proposed international mission, which would enable coordination between the E.U., U.N. and Chad to intensify.
France’s Ripert said last week that “the humanitarian and security situation in Chad is very bad as the result of a spillover effect of the Darfur crisis.”
“We have now together 400,000 refugees and internally displaced people in Chad, and we have more than 200,000 displaced people in the northern part of Central Africa. So we cannot go on like that,” he said.
The international operation will help ensure the security of refugees, internally displaced people and civilians, he said, with troops and police deployed at a dozen camps in Chad and at least one in northeastern Central African Republic.
Initially, the U.N. had talked of a force protecting the border, but Ripert said it is unrealistic to try to protect a frontier that is several thousand kilometers long and that will not be part of the E.U. force’s mandate.
The Security Council has already authorized deployment of a 26,000-strong joint African Union-U.N. force to help quell the violence in Darfur.