Expanded AU Force in Darfur Not a Permanent Solution

Roberta Cohen
Roberta Cohen Former Brookings Expert, Co-Chair Emeritus - Committee for Human Rights in North Korea

October 10, 2006

MS. HANSON: The UN Security Council has authorized a large peacekeeping force for Sudan’s violence-torn Darfur region, but the Sudanese Government refuses to accept the troops. With the Security Council paralyzed, the African Union has agreed to expand their peacekeeping force. They currently have 7,000 troops in the region and will add 4,000 additional troops, extending their mandate until the end of this year.

I am on the phone with Roberta Cohen, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on humanitarian and refugee issues.

Roberta, how does the expansion of the AU force compare to the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force?

There have been reports that the AU force is under-trained and under-funded. Do you agree?

MS. COHEN: Yes, I do. The AU force is under-trained, under-funded. The numbers are insufficient. They also have a very weak mandate. The quality of the troops is also an issue. African countries do not have that many experienced troops that they can spare.

The deployment is always a problem as well. It took the African Union several years to bring their forces up to the 7,000 that they now have.

Interviewed by Stephanie Hanson,