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U.N., Khartoum Blame Each Other for Deployment Delay

The United Nations and the Sudanese government are exchanging accusations regarding the delay in deployment of international peacekeepers in the war-torn Darfur province.
Head of the U.N. peacekeeping unit Jean-Marie Guehenno said Khartoum was imposing obstacles, such as rejection of non-African peacekeeping forces and operational restrictions on the forces.
Khartoum says the U.N. has delayed meetings to discuss the deployment.
The U.N. plans to send the new hybrid peacekeeping force to replace a struggling 7,000-strong AU force which has been unable to end the violence in Darfur. The plan was approved after months of negotiations and was reluctantly accepted by Khartoum.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which began in early 2003. The government denies claims that it unleashed armed groups called Janjaweed against the people of Darfur and maintains the death toll is much lower than has been reported.
Meanwhile, internally displaced people in Darfur are staging protests against the deployment of Chinese peacekeepers.
Demonstrators have also delivered letters to the African Union and to the U.N. explaining that they could not trust “Khartoum providers of weapons” to protect them.
The suspicious attitude towards China stems from China’s financial dealings with the Sudanese government. China buys a large quantity of Sudan’s oil and sells Khartoum weapons. Critics say China has failed to use its leverage to pressure Khartoum into ending the conflict in Darfur.
China has sent 135 military engineers to Darfur, as part of a 26,000-strong international peacekeeping force, which will be comprised of troops contributed by the U.N. and the AU.