Roberta Cohen discusses the UNAMID peacekeeping force for Darfur with Stephanie Hanson from the Council on Foreign Relations.
HANSON: This is Stephanie Hanson for CFR.org. In August 2007, the UN Security Council authorized a 26,000 strong joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force for Sudan’s Darfur region. Many observers hoped the force would help quell the violence in Darfur, but delays and difficulties have plagued its deployment. I’m speaking with Roberta Cohen, an expert on humanitarian issues at The Brookings Institution.
HANSON: Roberta, there are only 9,000 troops deployed in the joint UN-AU force thus far. A good portion of these were already on the ground with the African Union force and just re-hatted. When this force was authorized, there were statements that there were enough troop pledges for 26,000 troops. What happened, where are the rest of these troops?
COHEN: There’s very little capacity. The Sudanese government has so obstructed this deployment of the force that the land and the water for barracks have not been fully worked out. There’s no status of force agreement yet. This is a basic agreement between the government and those providing the troops. There’s no agreement because there have been so many restrictions put up, conditions by the government of Sudan that there isn’t the readiness yet to deploy the rest of these troops.
The other reason is that the Sudanese government has insisted that the troops be not only predominantly, but almost all, from African countries. And African countries have a limited pool of experienced, trained, and well-equipped troops. And it’s not enough to have troops, you also have to have equipment. The Under-Secretary General for peacekeeping says that it will take most of 2008 to deploy the full force.