Russia for fresh dialogues over Darfur peacekeepers
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for fresh dialogues between the UN and Sudan, to end a stalemate over the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur.india Updated: Sep 04, 2006 17:35 IST
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Monday for fresh dialogues between the United Nations and Sudan, to end a stalemate over the proposed deployment of UN peacekeepers to Darfur.
Speaking after Khartoum asked for an interim African Union force to be withdrawn from the troubled western region by the end of the month and restated its opposition to a UN mission, Lavrov said the situation required more talks.
He lamented that the UN Security Council had on Thursday ignored Russian and Chinese advice for new consultations with the Sudanese and given the green light to a Darfur operation with many unresolved issues.
"We had insisted together with China that more consultations should be done with the government of Sudan before voting on the transfer of peacekeeping in Darfur from the African Union to the United Nations," Lavrov said.
"We believe that the transfer should be done in line with the rules and regulations of the Security Council, but still there is a need for more consultations with the government of Sudan," he said.
"The voting was taken hastily," Lavrov said, ahead of talks with African Union commission chief Alpha Oumar Konare at AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital.
Russia, China and Qatar abstained from the Darfur vote at the Security Council session last week, which called for the deployment of more than 20,000 UN peacekeepers to take over from the embattled 7,000-strong AU force.
The move was immediately rejected by Khartoum, which on Sunday said it wanted AU troops out of Darfur by the time their mission's mandate expires at the end of September, and would provide security itself in the war-torn region.
The combined effect of war and famine has left up to 300,000 people dead in Darfur and displaced 2.5 million in three and half years of civil war pitting the Sudanese government and allied militia against ethnic minority rebels.