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U.N. Set To Vote on Darfur Force

The United Nations Security Council is soon to vote on the deployment of a hybrid U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, after France and Britain softened a draft resolution last week.
Under the new proposed resolution, a 26,000-strong force will be deployed in the region, replacing the largely under-staffed and under-financed AU force already there.
The Security Council is set to vote on the resolution before the end of the week.
Sponsors of the proposed resolution made concessions in order to secure consensus among the voters.
The sponsors held consultations with the 15 members of the Security Council on Monday, and held bilateral sessions with the Sudanese ambassador to the U.N. 
One of the key concerns of the sponsors is China, which has veto power at the Security Council and is a close ally of Khartoum.
The softened language of the proposal was made following objections from China, South Africa, the Congo and Ghana to previous proposals.
The concessions include dropping threats of sanctions against Sudan.
The draft allows troops to apply force to protect personnel, ensure security for humanitarian aid workers and prevent violence against civilians.
If the resolution is approved, the peacekeeping force will not be deployed before next year.
The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when local rebels took up arms against the central government, citing decades of discrimination.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in the ensuing conflict and more than two million displaced.
The Sudanese government denies allegations it is backing local armed groups called Janjaweed to commit atrocities in Darfur.
The government of Khartoum has reluctantly agreed to the deployment of a hybrid U.N.-AU force in Darfur.