Saturday, July 21, 2007

Britain and France to call for 26,000 U.N. Peacekeepers to Darfur

Britain and France to make joint effort on terrorism and Darfur - International Herald Tribune

Heralding a new era of cooperation, France and Britain vowed Friday to intensify cooperation on terrorism and make a joint push in the United Nations Security Council to deploy thousands of peacekeeping troops in Sudan. Following their first meeting since they took office, President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned the Sudan government of tougher sanctions if it did not halt the killing of civilians in its western Darfur region. They said they would send their foreign ministers to New York to lobby fellow Security Council members to approve a draft resolution authorizing 26,000 troops and police officers from the African Union and the United Nations to go to Darfur and pledged a symbolic joint trip to the region to press for an immediate cease-fire once the resolution is passed.

"People are dying and people are suffering and it must stop," Sarkozy said during a joint news conference with Brown, vowing to pressure more reluctant members of the Security Council, like China, to come on board. "We cannot guarantee success. But what Gordon and I guarantee is that we are determined to shake up the system."

The French-British initiative on Sudan is the most concrete evidence yet that Europe's resolve is toughening to end a four-year-old conflict between rebels in Darfur and government-backed militias that has killed an estimated 200,000 people and driven 2.1 million from their homes.t is also a first indication of how the arrival of two new leaders over the past two months could reshape the political landscape in Europe. On Monday, Sarkozy and Brown held separate talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. Three high-profile meetings in the past week gave a glimpse of the new personal and political relationship that is forming at the heart of Europe. The triangular dynamic heralds a fresh start and not just because the three leaders share a nonideological approach to politics and governance. It also ends years of squabbling among their predecessors over a host of issues, most notably the decision to go to war in Iraq.

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