For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
October 18, 2004
Statement on the Expanded African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan
The President has directed the Secretary of Defense to make available two military transport aircraft for two weeks starting near the end of October to support a portion of the deployment of the expanded African Union (AU) mission in Sudan. The United States is working with other international partners, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the European Union to support the AU expansion of the mission to about 3,500 personnel. Secretary of State Powell is in close contact with our international partners to encourage their support for this African Union initiative.
The first 1,000 additional troops are expected to come from Rwanda and Nigeria. The immediate task of the expanded AU mission is to intensify monitoring of the cease-fire and help create conditions to increase the free flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Darfur. Australia has also offered to provide two C-130 Hercules to airlift African troops. The United States has also allocated an additional $20.5 million to provide for logistical assistance to support the AU mission in Darfur.
The President appreciates the leadership of AU Chairman Nigerian President Obasanjo in dealing with the Darfur crisis, and in particular the AU's willingness to take on the challenge of expanding their Darfur monitoring mission. We anticipate a meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Committee on October 20 to discuss the issue of mission expansion. We believe that an AU decision to deploy additional African troops by the end of October will greatly help to improve security and create conditions in which humanitarian assistance can be more effectively provided to the people of Darfur.
The United States calls upon the Sudanese Government and the Darfur rebels to adhere to the cease fire, to allow for the free movement of humanitarian workers and relief supplies and to work in good faith toward a negotiated settlement.
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