Minister for Foreign Affairs Welcomes Authorisation by UN Security Council of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force for Darfur, Sudan
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern. T.D., has welcomed the adoption on 31 August 2006 by the UN Security Council today of Resolution 1706 (2006) which authorises the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force, consisting of 17,300 troops and 5,300 civilian police, in the Darfur Region of Sudan.
In welcoming the decision, the Minister said:
“The humanitarian and political challenges in Darfur remain acute. I therefore, warmly welcome yesterday's decision by the UN Security Council to send a United Nations peacekeeping force to Darfur, where 1.6 million people are currently being prevented from receiving desperately– needed humanitarian assistance due to the very difficult security situation. But if the force is to play the role it needs to, the essential next step is for the Government of Sudan to give its consent as soon as possible, so that deployment can proceed as scheduled. I am pleased that the force will have a strong mandate for the protection of civilians and provision of security for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. I would like to commend the very valuable role which AMIS, the African Union Mission in Sudan, has played since 2004 in reducing large- scale organised violence in Darfur.
The United Nations peacekeeping force will support the implementation of the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, which provides a constructive basis for peace and reconciliation in Darfur. I encourage the full and rapid implementation of this Agreement and urge non –signatories to adhere to it and commit themselves to its implementation.”
The mandate of this force will be to support implementation of the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, including protection of civilians and provision of security for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. While it is intended that the UN force will take over responsibility for supporting the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement from the current African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) not later than 31 December 2006, the transition process is due to begin on 1 October 2006. The Sudanese Government currently opposes the deployment of UN peacekeepers in Darfur and the leadership of the dominant National Congress party has indicated that it rejects Resolution 1706 (2006).
Department of Foreign Affairs
1 September 2006