Nordics ready for Darfur

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Oslo/Copenhagen 9-10 May : Nordic Defence Ministers welcomed on Wednesday a recent agreement to end the conflict in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, and said they were prepared to support a possible UN force. The Ministers issued a joint statement at the end of a two-day meeting in Norway’s Svalbard Islands, saying they had agreed to investigate how they could contribute to a possible UN peacekeeping force. Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen, Norwegian Defense Minister wants a common Nordic participation in UN Peacekeeping forces in Darfur:

‘Latest developments in Darfur justify that we discuss the possibility of a common Nordic iniative within the framework of a UN led operation in Africa . A related question is how the Nordic Countries can contribute together to the UN capacity to plan and lead ever more complex peacekeeping operations”, says Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.

Norway expects the UN to ask officially for Norwegian troops as soon as a resolution has been passed in the Security Council. UN wants to replace 7.000 troops from the African Union in Darfur but waits for the green light from the Sudanese government.

The Danish government is positive to the contribution of Danish troops to Darfur, in case the peace accord between the government and the rebels holds, Denmark´s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told “Folketinget” the Danish parliament in an answer to a question from the opposition´s Steen Gade.

Steen Gade asked in vain for a commitment from the government to contribute Danish troops to Darfur and asked the government to put Darfur on top of its priorities when Denmark takes over the chairmanship in the Security Council in a few weeks time. “The situation in Darfur reminds more and more of a genocide like in Rwanda”, Gade spokesman of the Socalist People´s Party told Parliament. A majority in the parliament supports a Danish contribution to a UN Darfur force.

’If the UN will at a given time ask for a Danish contribution to the peacekeeping force, we will look at the request in a positive way. But at this moment there is nothing definitive to say, because the situation is very unclear”, The Danish PM told Parliament. Mr Fogh Rasmussen discussed the situation in Darfur with the AU´s chaiman Alpha Pumar Konaré in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

(Aftenposten,Politiken,DPA)