Australia to join UN mission to Darfur: Rudd | world | Hindustan Times
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Australia to join UN mission to Darfur: Rudd

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says Australia will join international efforts in Sudan's Darfur by sending a small military team to join a UN's mission in the conflict zone.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2008 22:49 IST

Australia will join international efforts in Sudan's Darfur by sending a small military team to join a United Nation's mission in the conflict zone, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Sunday.

The nine Australian Defence Force logisticians will be part of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) which aims to help restore peace and stability in the region, he said.

"Darfur has been a continuing tragedy and the Australian government has a responsibility to act and this contribution demonstrates our commitment to the UN and restoring peace and stability in Darfur," Rudd said.

Rudd said the team, which must still be approved by the Sudanese government, was small because the Sudanese government had reservations about large contributions from western countries.

"So they've asked us for help and what I've said was we'll provide what we can through the Australian Defence Force. It's a modest contribution," he told Network Ten.

"We've operated within the constraints of the host government, but we've got to act and help in a practical way," he told Network Ten.

Rudd said the military assistance would be backed up by five million dollars (4.8 million US) in humanitarian aid.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 and has so far cost as many as 300,000 lives due to the effects of war, famine and disease, according to UN humanitarian chief John Holmes. Sudan claims the death toll from the war does not exceed 10,000.