US President George W has authorised the airlift of equipment to Sudan's Darfur region in support of a UN peacekeeping mission, the White House said on Monday.
Bush approved US support for the mission as he was to meet with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir, a rival of President Omar al-Bashir. The president has been the target of US sanctions for his failure to reign in the government-backed militias waging war in Darfur.
"The United States will continue to lead the international community to stand by the people of Darfur and to deploy and support the UN peacekeeping operation," national security adviser Stephen Hadley said.
The United Nations is leading the mission in partnership with the African Union, which has been ineffective at bringing an end to the violence that erupted in February 2003 between government-backed Janjaweed militias and rebel groups.
More than 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict regarded by the Bush administration as genocidal. More than 1 million people have been forced to flee.
Kiir, a former rebel leader in a separate North-South conflict that ended in a 1995 peace agreement, is also president of semiautonomous southern Sudan. Al-Bashir was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in July.
Bush last month expressed the frustration over the slow pace of assembling the UN peacekeeping mission approved by the Security Council in July 2007.
"The pace of action out of the United Nations is too slow," Bush said Dec 10.
The United Nations has been unable to find countries willing to contribute troops. Only about one-third of the 26,000 authorized size of the force has been deployed.