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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Arabs offer to fund Darfur troops
AU soldier in Sudan
AU forces have struggled to end the violence in Darfur
Arab leaders have agreed to pay for the African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had asked the Arab League to meet the cost of the mission from October this year, when its current funding runs out.

Agreement on payment was reached at a summit in Khartoum but it is unlikely the Arab leaders will have to pay out.

The AU has agreed in principle to hand over peacekeeping to the United Nations from September.

Sudan's government has campaigned strongly against the UN mission and would like to see the 7,000 AU troops remain.

But when the AU's funds run out in September it is expected the UN will be ready to assume control and financial responsibility.

Endorsement

The Sudanese have long been under pressure on the issue from the international community, the BBC's Jonah Fisher reports from Khartoum.

Khartoum will be pleased, he says, that fellow Arab states backed their attempts to resolve Darfur's violence and reaffirm their commitment to an African solution to the problem.

They are expected to "provide financial and logistic support to the AU mission in Darfur to enable it to continue performing its tasks".

Calling for the continuation of the AU mission, the Arab leaders also stipulate that the deployment of any other troops in the region requires Sudan's "pre-approval".


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