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General News of Tuesday, 11 January 2005

Source: Times

Ghanaian Police Officers For Darfur Region

About 150 Ghanaian police officers are likely to join African Union troops serving in Sudan?s Darfur region.

The move is in response to the just-ended AU meeting in Gabon where African states who have agreed to deploy peacekeepers to ensure their commitments were honoured in time.

The UN has been increasingly frustrated by the slow pace of deploying AU troops in the region with only a quarter of the planned 4,000-strong force in place.

ECOWAS Chairman President John Agyekum Kufuor was also at the meeting. His Press Secretary, Kwabena Agyepong, spoke to Joy News from the Gabonese capital, Libreville.

He said before police personnel could be deployed, there should be logistical backup; financial and other resources should be put at the disposal of the peacekeepers.

He said the AU chairman appealed to president Kufuor to bring 150 police personnel particularly women because there has been complaints from the camp that women and children are being maltreated.

He said at least 50 of the personnel would be women based on interactions made by the Foreign, Interior and the Police Administration.

The summit also discussed continued unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.

The AU called for an extension of the deadline on a second round of UN sanctions to include the freezing of assets of people who are not part of the Ivorian peace process.

Mr. Agyepong said ending these conflicts was paramount on the agenda of the leaders, who were also counting on the international community for support.

? President Kufuor and his colleagues will to do everything possible to ensure that the people of Cote d? Ivoire will accept results when they are declared.

South African President Thabo Mbeki is due in Ivory Coast shortly to meet all sides in the conflict to convince them that disarmament and constitutional reforms can make Presidential elections feasible in 10 months.

President Kufuor is expected back in Accra today.

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