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Monday, November 27, 2006

Political Solution Required for Darfur, UN Official Says

Any peacekeeping force in the ravaged region of Darfur in Sudan will not prove effective without a political process aimed at finding a solution to the genocidal crisis gripping the area, a United Nations official says.

"If that force is deployed without a credible political process going on, it will not work. You can have an A.U. force, you can have a U.N. force, you can have a 10,000 force, a 20,000 force, or a 30,000 force, considering the size of Darfur and the fragmentation in Darfur, if you do not have a process that limits the influence of possible spoilers, then everybody is a spoiler and the force will not be in a position to really bring real progress," says Jean-Marie Guéhenno, UN under secretary general for peacekeeping.

Ongoing genocide in Darfur in western Sudan threaten the lives of more than 2 million people in the Darfur region.

"When you look at the political process, when you look at the reasons why the Darfur Peace Agreement is not today an agreement that has a wide following, you see that there are essentially three issues that stand out," Guéhenno says. "There is the issue of compensation, how much money and how is that money provided to the victims. There is the issue of the region of Darfur versus the free 11 states of Darfur. And there is the issue of the presence of Darfurians in Sudanese state institutions."

Meanwhile, the large amount of heavy weaponry sitting around Darfur right now on all sides also poses a challenge, according to Andrew Natsios, special U.S. presidential envoy to Sudan.

"You can’t have a peace agreement implemented unless that stuff is collected," he says. "The U.N. did not do a good job 14 years ago. I watched them really mess up some things. They do an
excellent job now in this. They have established procedures as to how to do it so it works. If we are going to have a peace agreement and Darfur is going to be stable again and development can take place, it is very important that we use those established procedures."

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