UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council said Monday it would speedily consider sending peacekeepers to Sudan to support a new peace deal and urged the new government of national unity to work actively to end the conflict in western Darfur.
If implemented, the peace deal signed Sunday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, would end 40 years of civil war which has caused 2 million deaths, mainly from war-induced famine and disease, uprooted 4 million people, and forced 600,000 to flee the country altogether.
The U.N. Security Council said it looked to the world to help implement the deal as well as help with the rebuilding and rehabilitation process.
The civil war began in 1983 after rebels from the mainly animist and Christian south took up arms against the predominantly Arab and Muslim north.
The war is separate from fighting unleashed two years ago in western Darfur, where government troops and Arab militias are battling two main rebel groups. About 70,000 people have died through disease, hunger and attacks in Darfur, while more than 2 million have been reported displaced.
Jan Pronk, the top U.N. envoy to Sudan, said last month that if a peace agreement was reached, he envisioned Security Council adoption of a resolution in the third week of January authorizing a wide-ranging U.N. peacekeeping and peace-building mission, hopefully with 9,000 to 10,000 troops.
The United Nations has pledges for the troops, including southeast Asian nations Pronk would not identify.
But he said that it will take six months to deploy the U.N. force in southern Sudan where it will likely remain during the 6 1/2 -year period until a referendum on autonomy for the south is held.
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