If UN forces are sent to Darfur Annan wants them highly trained

In an informal meeting with journalists, he was asked whether he would request a commitment to an expanded UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) from Mr. Bush.“I will share with him the facts that I have shared with you, the needs that we have and the countries that I think can supply those needs, and that will include the US,” he said.Though the African troops did “really courageous and noble work,” they lacked the numbers, logistics and mobility to cover such a large area, he said.“If the Council asks us to move in – and we are doing contingency planning, we would expect to go in with a completely different force and have a completely different concept of operation,” Mr. Annan said. “I would want to see a highly mobile force on the ground in Darfur.”That force would be able to crisscross the territory in armoured personnel carriers and jeeps and would have the tactical air assets necessary to get to the right location when there was an SOS, rather than arrive after the harm had been done, he said.In that way, a message would go out to the militia and others causing the damage that a force was in place that would be capable of responding in time to prevent them from intimidating and killing innocent civilians, he said.“But such a force would require the participation of governments with highly trained troops, who are also well equipped. It is not going to be easy for the big and powerful countries with armies to delegate to Third World countries. They will have to play a part if we are going to stop the carnage that we see in Darfur,” Mr. Annan said.With the consent of the Sudanese Government, external experts are advising the African Union (AU) forces on technical matters, he said.The AU, he added, would need to work with the UN to convince the Sudanese Government that the troops would not be coming in as an invading or a fighting force.“I do not think it is impossible to get them to agree to allow a UN force, which contains troops from outside Africa, to come to Darfur. And so, I am very optimistic,” Mr. Annan said.

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