US Deputy Secretary of State to Visit Sudan Thursday

As part of an African tour, the US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte is to arrive here next Thursday on three-day visit to Sudan. SUNA learned that the US Official will hold talks with Foreign Minister Dr. Lam Akol on bilateral relations and developments in Sudan including Darfur issue.
The American diplomat is to visit to Darfur and South Sudan and to meet a number of government officials there.

Lam Akol underlined the importance of adoption a resolution on providing funds for the second phase, also known as "the heavy support phase," after the "light support package" had been delivered in the past four months.

He said the resolution would facilitate the deployment of more African troops in Darfur.

Meanwhile, he reiterated his government's position that the peacekeeping force to be reinforced by the UN in Darfur must be commanded by the AU.

The Sudanese top diplomat's call came a day after representatives of the Sudanese government, the UN and the AU reached an agreement on increasing UN logistic support for the AU peacekeeping force in Darfur during a tripartite meeting held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday.

As for Monday's meeting, Lam Akol said the differences, which the Sudanese president had pointed out in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon early this year, had been ironed out in the meeting.

"The Addis Ababa meeting means that the Sudanese government has approved the support package of the second phase except one point concerning military helicopters, which are not needed according to opinions of both Sudan and the AU," Lam Akol said.

"After the agreement was reached at the tripartite meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday, the ball is now in the UN court," the Sudanese foreign minister added.

The Sudanese government, the AU and the UN worked out in last November the three-phase support package concerning the light and heavy logistic supports to be provided by the world body to the pan-African organization's peacekeeping force in Darfur.

The plan calls for the deployment of a UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur at the third phase, at which the Sudanese government has hesitated fearing possible negative impacts on the internal situation.

Source: Xinhua