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U.N. OKs Peacekeepers for Sudan

June 12, 2004|From Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Friday authorizing preparations for a U.N. peacekeeping operation in southern Sudan and calling for a halt to fighting in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

The resolution welcomed the May 26 signing of a landmark, power-sharing declaration by the Sudanese government and southern rebels, settling the administration of three disputed areas in central Sudan and committing both sides to a peace deal.

The deal cleared up the last remaining political issues blocking a final accord to end Sudan's 21-year civil war.

The two sides must now negotiate the details of a comprehensive cease-fire.

The Security Council urged the government and southern rebels to speedily reach an agreement in talks slated to start June 22.

Once a final deal is signed, the council said, Secretary-General Kofi Annan should quickly make recommendations on the size, structure and mandate of the peacekeeping operation.

In the meantime, the resolution authorizes the United Nations to start preparing crucial supplies and personnel to facilitate rapid deployment of the mission.

Friday's resolution, sponsored by Britain, also urged an immediate halt to violence in Darfur and in the Upper Nile, where thousands of people have been killed and more than a million left homeless in fighting between Arab militias and black Africans.

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