Tuesday, October 25, 2005

EU and AU in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination

Oct. 25 2005

Press Release - International Crisis Group

The security situation in Darfur will continue to worsen and the political process will remain stalemated unless the African Union Mission in Sudan is armed with more troops, given a more robust mandate and assured new funding.

The EU/AU Partnership in Darfur: Not Yet a Winning Combination, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, explores the unique cooperation between the European Union and the African Union and suggests ways to make it more effective. The report is the first in a Crisis Group series examining the strengths and weaknesses of the EU's growing crisis response capability and more ambitious policies in conflict prevention situations. Darfur, where at least 200,000 have died and two million have been displaced, is a litmus test for the EU and the AU as they take on larger political roles in Africa and beyond.

"The young AU deserves some praise for tackling the Darfur crisis, and it has come a long way since the war began in early 2003", says Alain Deletroz, Crisis Group Vice President for Europe. "Even its initial deployment might not have been possible without EU support, but the EU/AU partners and the international community as a whole have to do much more and take a tougher stand if these efforts are to bear fruit".

The most urgent step is to bring the AU mission (AMIS) to its authorized size of 7,731 soldiers and police, which is happening too slowly; rapidly improve the efficiency of those forces and roughly double their numbers so they have the muscle to restore security; and create promising conditions for the political settlement the AU seeks to mediate between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebel groups. AMIS also needs a Chapter VII-type mandate from the AU and the UN Security Council that explicitly authorises it to concentrate on protecting civilians.

"Security in Darfur has seriously deteriorated in recent weeks. Thousands more boots are needed on the ground immediately", says Suliman Baldo, Director of Crisis Group's Africa Program. "Unfortunately, the international community is not prepared at this stage to consider a NATO bridging force, or to convert the AU mission into a UN one to expand the pool of troop and financial contributors, but there is still more that can and should be done with the AU mission".

The €250 million African Peace Facility with which the EU has largely financed AMIS is almost exhausted and needs to be replenished. The EU should also improve internal coordination between its institutions and member states active on Darfur and external coordination with the AU, giving its new special representative, Pekka Haavisto, the authority and resources to ensure that it speaks with a single, strong voice.

The AU should prioritise efforts to become more efficient within its current structure; press Khartoum to allow immediate delivery of badly needed armoured personnel carriers Canada has donated; and plan urgently for expanding and improving AMIS, while also considering other options for delivering the military support needed to achieve a sustainable peace, such as a NATO bridging force or a UN mission.

"For Darfur to stabilise, one of two things must happen", says David Mozersky, Crisis Group Senior Analyst. "Either the parties must radically change behaviour and respect their commitments, or AMIS must be expanded in both size and mandate, and given the support it needs. Given this conflict's history, the latter is the only real option today".

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