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Sudan May Be Open to U.N. Intervention

Associated Press

November 14, 2006

Sudan told Senegal's president that it is open to limited intervention by the United Nations in the Darfur region, the leader of the West African nation said.

Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade told reporters he received a letter from Sudan President Omar al-Bashir Monday that accepted some sort of U.N. intervention. Sudan has steadfastly refused a U.N. offer of troops to relieve a small and over-stretched African Union force in the war-ravaged region, leading to diplomatic efforts to find a compromise.

Wade said the letter "did not say no to the United Nations, but wanted to limit their intervention." He did not say if the letter included references to military forces.

Wade has previously traveled to Sudan in attempts to mediate the Darfur crisis, one of several African leaders to take up the cause.

On Monday, the United Nations said it has promised a package of personnel and equipment worth millions to boost AU efforts in Darfur. The package was offered because of Sudan's resistance to U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur, according to Hedi Annabi, the U.N.'s assistant secretary general for peacekeeping operations, who recently visited Sudan.

The AU has about 7,000 troops in Darfur, a region about the size of France in western Sudan that is trying to hold on to a tenuous cease-fire between the government and one rebel group. More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been displaced since Darfur rebels took up arms against Sudan's central government in February 2003.

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