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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 18:24 GMT
South Sudan peace force approved
Man in southern Sudan
Southern Sudanese hope peace can bring development
The UN Security Council has unanimously approved a peacekeeping force of more than 10,000 troops for southern Sudan.

The soldiers will monitor January's peace deal ending a 21-year civil war between Khartoum and southern rebels in which some two million people died.

A rebel spokesman, however, said details, such as where the troops would come from, still had to be worked out.

The Security Council remains deadlocked over a separate conflict in the Darfur region, where thousands have died.

The pro-government Janjaweed militia is accused of killing and raping thousands of non-Arabs in Darfur.

Irony

Some 180,000 people have died of disease and hunger in Darfur and two million have fled their homes.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Sudan says the irony is that the 10,000 peacekeepers for the south will be sent to an area where a peace deal has largely held in the past few years and both warring parties seem committed to peace.

In Darfur, the violence continues despite a ceasefire signed a year ago and the 2,000 African Union peace monitors there are not enough to cover the area, which is the size of France.

Samson Kwaje from the former rebel Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement (SPLM) welcomed the resolution but said: "We are not happy with the present composition of the force," reports the AFP news agency.

The mainly Christian and Animist SPLM has previously expressed fears that Muslim countries would dominate the force.

The vote on the peacekeepers for the south was delayed for three weeks, while UN Security Council members argued over Darfur.

They are divided on whether to impose sanctions on the government and how to deal with war crimes suspects.

Several council members want the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try suspects.

Correspondents say the issue presents a dilemma for the US, which has refused to recognise the court but has been in the forefront of those putting pressure on the Sudan government to end the violence.

It may end up using its veto to block attempts to put on trial those accused of war crimes in Darfur.

No roads

A UN panel found that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed and passed a sealed list of suspects to the Security Council.

Refugee in Darfur
The south is peaceful, but conflict continues in Darfur
The US opposes the ICC because it fears the politically motivated prosecution of its troops.

Agreement in the separate conflict in the south between the Muslim government and the SPLM stipulated political power-sharing arrangements and a division of oil wealth, as well as integrated security forces.

The UN plans to set up a large peace support operation to monitor the north-south ceasefire, help reconciliation efforts and provide humanitarian aid.

After 21 years of war, it is one of the world's poorest areas with hardly any roads, schools or hospitals.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said peace in the south would pave the way for an end to the conflict in Darfur.

What is your reaction to the announcement? Will the troops bring peace to south Sudan? Is the world doing enough in Darfur? Send us your comments using the form to the right.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I am grateful that the UN is making a move to enable the peace process in South Sudan. I am also deeply concerned for the people in the Darfur region. The atrocities that have occurred and continue to occur there deserve attention. I do not think that the world is doing enough in Darfur. I believe that is largely due to lack of knowledge. I believe if people knew, they may be moved to act, or call on our officials who have the power to act. The tragedy occurring closely resembles the genocides in Rwanda just over a decade ago. I am not sure when we will learn our lesson and intervene.
Julie Bishop, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Sending a peace keeping force from the UN security council is fantastic, but you have to remember that involving Arab (Muslim) soldiers on peace keeping force may damage the temporary existing peace between north and south. I am saying that because I learnt a lot from Arabs.
Samuel G, Omaha, US

Money and response came very fast for the tsunami
N O'Connor,Canada
We have a son there as a doctor and the situation is very bad. They need water, food, and have hundreds of children dying. The police station across from the camp send police into the camp everyday and they scare the people. Planes fly low over the camp adding to the terror. The government needs to be overridden by the UN troops to stop this tragedy. Money and response came very fast for the tsunami. The time to argue over Darfur is over and it is time to act fast. Where criminals will be tried is secondary - help the people NOW!
N O'Connor, Sarnia,Canada

Though I am glad to see that the global community is taking steps to cement peace in southern Sudan, I am extremely disappointed in the global reaction to events in Darfur. In southern Sudan, as the BBC reports, both sides already seem committed to peace. In Darfur, however, conditions continue to deteriorate. Estimates of the dead in Darfur are now around 180,000 and that is just from disease and malnutrition. No one has any idea how many have been killed by the violence, but it is surely very high. I don't know exactly what the answer is to stop violence in Darfur, but it is certainly not inaction.
Jackson Smith, Boise, USA

I find it incredible that all countries are using this horrible situation as a tool to try to advance their own desires. A peace-keeping force not the token force proposed currently, must be sent now to protect those whose lives are threatened. After that the politics can be debated.
Aaron, Minneapolis

This is a great step in the right direction but it is far from what is needed. The Darfur region has seen the greatest of immoral acts in recent history and yet we still ignore the area. I particularly criticize the US government for not taking any real action. I supported the war in Iraq and Afghanistan not for WMD but to correct a great injustice happening in the world. It saddens me that in the face of obvious and blatant immoral acts we cannot step in to save lives.
Christopher Fullerton, Michigan, USA

What will happen to my brothers in the Nuba Moutains and the Blue Nile? They fought together with the south for liberation and they should receive the same help as the South. And Darfur will always be a set-back, unless they stop only partially solving the problem in Sudan. We will not just sit back and watch our brothers suffering. Unless Darfur is solved we will be dragged back into war to support our brothers.
(Nelson) Akech Manyiel Malou, Melbourne

One day the world community will stop the long suffering of the people of Darfur
Peter, Sudanese, Minnesota
Sending UN peacekeeing troops in southern Sudan is welcome development. Ironically, without full support from the UN and international community Sudan's peace will soon in jeopardy, because of the length of the war and mistrust between the former SPLM and Sudan government. When the UN troops arrive in southern Sudan, that should be the end of the war. There will be no militia who roam around and terrorise innocent people. I believe one day the world community will stop the long suffering of the people of Darfur. I think if the South problem is resolved, the Darfur problem should come to an end too.
Peter Tuach, Sudanese, Minnesota, USA

There has been no progress whatsoever. Bringing peace to the south is, of course, a significant step. I fear, however, that the UN is only trying to draw general attention away from the real, on-going conflict(genocide, in other words) in Darfur by stressing its efforts in the south. I doubt if the UN could even help so much in Darfur due to its lack of real power. In Rwanda, for example, the UN was completely powerless and not much has been done to prevent that from happening all over again.
Marjaana Kohtamaki, Helsinki

We have seen lots of ethnic cleansing in all over the world. But little was understood from it. If the UN takes the right action as soon as possible we would see and hear much more happier and pleasing news from the two sides of the people.
Ching, China

The UN Security Council should send the 10,000 troops slated for southern Sudan to the Darfur region instead. The crimes against humanity committed in Darfur must be stopped by international force since Khartoum does not have any ambition to quell the unspeakable violence against the innocent.
Albert Schlaht, Missoula, Montana

I hope the UN and the entire international community are willing to maintain the pressure on the National Islamic Front based in Khartoum by sending the peacekeeping force to monitor the ceasefire in South Sudan. I hope they can receive the mandate to enforce the rule of law and defend the southern Sudanese. And they must act in Darfur. The world has to come together and say no to Chinese support for Khartoum.
Kenneth Elisapana, Chicago

This is ironic indeed. Southern Sudan has been relatively quiet for a number of years whilst the Darfur region has seen increased violence and more and more people are dying of hunger and disease or being killed. It would be a grave mistake if the current violence in Darfur were to be allowed to continue until a similar process to the south can take shape. The African Union is clearly not yet capable of putting more troops on the ground in Darfur or of forcing concessions out of Khartoum. The UN is the only body that is capable of resolving the issue quickly, but it must exert more pressure on Khartoum.
Arthur Rodgers, Co Tyrone

The UN and rest of the world have been very late in doing anything largely effective in preventing genocide (or however it is termed at the current moment) but at least this is a small step forward.
Jolly Zhou, New York

The situation in the Darfur region will have a negative effect on the south-north peace accord. The only thing that the UN and international community can do is to put more pressure on the northern government to stop the killings in Darfur. As a Sudanese I want the northern government to tell us what part of Sudan is this community called the jajiweed located and where do they get Sudanese army uniform and weapons? Stop misleading the world, we need the conflict to come to an end.
Palath Thonchar, NY

Overpopulation and struggle for survival, the root of conflict, is the cause. A force to keep the peace may serve in the short-term, but a sustainable situation can only be achieved through education, to show people how to live and have a chance for quality of life.
John Chambers, Branson, USA

The United Nations should now act swiftly on the situation in Darfur and send peacekeeping forces to end the atrocities by the Arab, government- backed Janjaweed militia who continue to kill innocent civilians, since the south is now calm why can't the UN divert the troops to Darfur?
Basil Mbakile, Tanzania

About time - it is more than shameful that no one has taken any interest in this for so long - but then again, they don't have any interest in this cause.
N Tulip, Jacksonville, Florida

There is no such thing as peace. No matter what is done in the world and how problems are approached, the world will never be fully peaceful.
Claire, Whitnash, England

The world hasn't done enough during the southern conflict
Natty, Roc USA
It seems to me that sending troops to Darfur should be the priority as stability in Darfur will, most likely, pave the way to stability in the south. The world hasn't done enough during the southern conflict. It is sad that the world continues to choose which genocide is real. It is sad that politics plays a major role in responding to disasters effectively, and determining how many should die before responding. The irony to me is the super-powers sending troops to Iraq to "spread democracy", but not applying the same theory to Sudan?
Natty, Roc USA

The peacekeeping force for southern Sudan is a good news for the people of the south. Without UN support for peace in Sudan it will be so difficult for lasting peace to take place. The government will try very hard to continue their long-term divide and rule policy, in which they will use southerners to fight each other. But make no mistake, the south will be united more than ever for peace to succeed so that those who died in the struggle would not died for nothing. The world should act without thinking about their nation's interest, but for the interest of humanity in Darfur.
Luk Kang, Toronto, Canada

I hope this is the beginning of the journey to peace in Sudan. I would like to know what has taken Africa and the rest of the world this long. I have known of the conflict almost all my life and started seeing the flood of Sudanese refugees to Cameroon when I was about five-years-old.
Babila T, USA/Cameroon

If Khartoum withdraws completely from the South and stop its interference in the southern Sudan affairs there will be peace there. What the SPLA/M needs is financial and technical aid to transform it into a modern political party and into a conventional army. The other key factor in the peace is the construction of the infrastructure including roads, telecommunications, schools and hospitals. The leadership in southern Sudan should also diversify its production. Social justice is also key to lasting peace and prosperity.
Henry Maina Reriani, Nairobi




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