SA urges rich nations to equip Darfur force

South Africa urged rich countries on Tuesday to provide the hardware required for the deployment of a hybrid United Nations-Africa peacekeeping force in the strife-torn Darfur region of western Sudan.

While South Africa was committed to providing what it could to help resolve the deadly years-long conflict, it was “not such a military power”, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad told journalists in Cape Town.

“The type of equipment they need must come from bigger military powers, clearly.

“The key challenge is that developed countries must move decisively to provide the equipment that is needed. That includes Russia, China, the United States and some of the EU countries.”

The force is due to take over from an existing African Union deployment.

But United Nations Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno recently said the envisaged 25 000-strong hybrid force might be stillborn if ground transport and aviation units were not forthcoming.

It still required a ground transport unit, 18 transport helicopters, and six helicopters for light tactical purposes.

“We agree with him [Guehenno] fully when he says it tells a sad story of commitment to Darfur,” said Pahad.

“We cannot keep talking of the crisis in Darfur and keep talking of the violence that is increasing without ensuring that those that have the capacity do provide the capacity so the hybrid force can be in place as scheduled.”

South Africa was considering a UN request to contribute helicopters and ground transportation, and has already agreed to boost its existing presence in the region from 700 to 800 by December.


Pahad called for support from developed countries for a proposed $1,4-billion budget required for the first year of force deployment, while conceding that the Sudanese government itself had yet to come to the party.

According to Guehenno, the government of President Omar al-Bashir had yet to agree with the UN and AU on the composition of the hybrid force to be known as Unamid.

Thailand has offered to contribute an infantry battalion, Nepal a force reserve and sector reserve unit, and Sweden, Norway and Denmark an engineering unit.

But, said Pahad, there was “no agreement between the Sudanese government and the AU and the UN on utilising these forces”.

“We would urge all three sides, the UN, AU and the Sudanese government, to really resolve that outstanding matter of the composition of the force as soon as possible.”

The Darfur conflict between rebels and a pro-government militia has claimed an estimated 200 000 lives in the past four years. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday