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EU approves 40 million euro aid for African force in Darfur

May 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Africa

( EU foreign ministers on Monday gave the green light for a 40-million euro aid package to the African Union peacekeeping force in the troubled Sudanese province of Darfur, EU officials said.

For the money to be released, the decision must still be approved at a meeting between EU and foreign ministers from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations in Brussels on May 25.

This is because the 40 million euros would in effect be pulled out of unused European development funds which are co-managed by the EU and the ACP.

The European Union has already handed out 400 million euros worth of funding to the African mission in Somalia (AMIS), including 240 million euros from a special African peace fund which is now empty.

In March, the 27 EU member states agreed in principle to search for extra funding for the AU force, which is planned to be replaced by a hybrid United Nations-AU force in Darfur, western Sudan.

Khartoum has refused to endorse the deployment of the planned mission of 20,000 troops. The Sudanese government has only accepted the deployment of some 3,000 UN personnel in support of AMIS.

Khartoum reached a peace agreement with Darfur rebels on May 5, 2006 in Nigeria but only one of three negotiating rebel factions endorsed the deal and violence has since spiralled.

The Darfur ceasefire commission, set up after the signing of the peace deal, earlier this month expressed its concern over the ongoing violence and increased attacks on African Union peacekeepers.

The conflict has cost at least 200,000 lives and forced more than two million people from their homes, according to the United Nations, though Khartoum contests those estimates, saying 9,000 people have died.

EU foreign ministers met in Brussels on Monday for wide-ranging talks.

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