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Sudan Tribune

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Blair’s office dismisses report he’ll send troops of Sudan

LONDON, Dec 26, 2004 (AP) — Prime Minister Tony Blair’s office on Sunday dismissed a newspaper report that he had ordered the military to prepare 3,000 troops for a possible mission to Sudan ‘s violence-torn Darfur region.

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Prime Minister Tony Blair meets troops in Basra, Iraq. Blair’s office on Sunday dismissed a newspaper report that he had ordered the military to prepare 3,000 troops for a possible mission to Sudan ‘s violence-torn Darfur region.(. (AFP).

“I don’t recognize that story at all,” a Blair spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

“Our position on Sudan has been made clear. Basically, what we are doing is providing whatever help we can to the African Union force and we’re working with the African Union and the U.N. to resolve the situation there,” the spokesman said.

The Independent newspaper, which cited no sources, reported Sunday that Blair had told military bosses to prepare plans that could be implemented if he decides to order U.K. troops to Sudan next year.

The newspaper said military chiefs would discuss in early January the possibility of sending forces as part of a European Union effort.

A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said the story “is not factually correct” but added it was possible Britain could eventually decide to send troops to Sudan .

“There are no plans to deploy troops at the moment, but it’s a situation that’s constantly under review,” she said on condition of anonymity.

The African Union has deployed about 900 troops of an expected 4,000-strong force in Darfur.

Nearly two years of bloodshed has ravaged the area, where the security situation has recently worsened and humanitarian groups say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to aid those in need.

The violence and the resulting humanitarian crisis have killed 70,000 people and driven 1.8 million from their homes.