Boosting deployment of UNAfrican Union force focus of Darfur meeting

Participants at the fifth meeting of the Tripartite Committee on the AU-UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur (UNAMID) noted that the deployment of military forces, including troops, officers and military observers, has reached 67 per cent as of the end of March.Speaking to the press after today’s meeting in the North Darfur capital of El Fasher, UN Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra said the steady increase in deployment over the past year was an indication of the success of the regular Tripartite Committee meetings.At full strength, UNAMID is slated to become the world body’s largest peacekeeping operation, with some 26,000 military and police personnel.In his latest report on UNAMID, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that more than a year after it was set up, the operation still lacks critical logistical equipment, especially air power.“The provision of outstanding equipment, in particular military helicopter assets, remains critical to increasing the mobility and operational impact of the mission,” he stated, calling on Member States who are in a position to provide these vital resources to do so without further delay.The next Tripartite Committee meeting is scheduled to be held in Darfur in early June.UNAMID was set up over a year ago by the Security Council to protect civilians in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen. 31 March 2009Representatives of the Government of Sudan, the African Union and the United Nations met today in Darfur to discuss ways to facilitate and expedite deployment of the joint peacekeeping force tasked with quelling the violence in the strife-torn region.

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