Gov Richardson Welcomes Agreement to Send Hybrid UN/AU Peacekeeping Force to Darfur

SANTA FE, NM -- Governor Bill Richardson welcomed today's announcement of an agreement for the deployment of a full United Nations/African Union hybrid peacekeeping force to Darfur, Sudan. In their announcement, the UN, AU and Sudanese government indicated that all outstanding issues had been resolved, and Sudan confirmed it would accept the full UN/AU hybrid force deployment.

"This agreement, if implemented fully, rapidly and unconditionally, has the potential to reduce the violence in Darfur and dramatically enhance the security and welfare of the people affected by this human tragedy," said Governor Richardson. "It will hopefully create conditions that will lead to a negotiated end to the Darfur conflict."

The Governor urged the Bush Administration and other key foreign governments to maintain pressure to ensure that this agreement is fully and promptly implemented by the Sudanese government. He also stressed that UN and AU member states must now provide troops, police and other support needed to make the hybrid peacekeeping force a reality as soon as possible. The Governor, who met with President al-Bashir in January 2007 regarding Darfur, recalled that past agreements on many key issues regarding Darfur have not been fulfilled by the Sudanese authorities.

"If this new, very promising agreement is to achieve its potential of helping end the suffering of the people of Darfur, then the international community must be vigilant in ensuring that it is fully respected, and respond quickly if there is any Sudanese non-compliance," added Governor Richardson.