June 1, 2006

Sudan asks for more African troops in Darfur: Libya

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Sudan asked on Thursday for more
African troops to join the 7,000-strong African Union force
monitoring a truce in the troubled region, Libyan leader
Muammar Gaddafi said.

"Sudan demanded forces from the Community of Sahel-Saharan
States be dispatched to Darfur," Gaddafi told a meeting of the
group in Tripoli.

"We discussed that demand raised by Sudan and we agreed
upon that demand," Gaddafi added in his speech to leaders of
the Community.

He did not say whether Khartoum had asked for a specific
number of troops and did not give any details about what force
the group might provide and when it might go to Darfur.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than
2 million Darfuris have fled their homes to miserable camps
since government-armed militia set out to crush an uprising in
Sudan's western Darfur region three years ago.

A poorly equipped African Union force has been trying to
monitor a truce in the region but has itself come under attack,
while violence against Darfuris in the camps has continued.

The Sudanese government has been resisting international
pressure to allow a U.N. peacekeeping force into Darfur.

Last week, dozens of Nobel laureates wrote a letter to
President Bush and other leaders urging them to push hard for a
tough U.N. peacekeeping mandate including close-air support and
ground-based radar to monitor movements and enforce a no-fly

Gaddafi becomes Community chairman after the one-day
gathering of heads of state of the group, which includes Sudan,
Chad, Egypt, Mali, Niger, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Benin,
Burkina Faso, Morocco and Tunisia.

Gaddafi, whose remarks were broadcast live on state TV,
vowed to work to "extinguish fires" in Sudan, Ivory Coast and
other trouble spots on the continent.

"Those who are creating troubles and problems in Africa
must be treated like criminals because such problems divert
attention and efforts from focusing on economic and social
development in Africa," he said.

Gaddafi told African leaders to "count on Libya's resources
and potential" to further cooperation and resolve conflicts and
tensions across the continent.