'AU-UN force could be in Darfur by October'

A joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force could be in conflict-torn Darfur by October, depending on how quickly the two organizations are able to get troops and funds, a Sudanese diplomat said Wednesday. This is possible after Sudan received assurances on Tuesday that a 'hybrid' AU-UN force of between 17,000 and 19,000 troops for Darfur will not be open-ended and Sudan will remain in control of its border, said Akuei Bona Malwal, the deputy head of mission for Sudan in Ethiopia, where the African Union is based. Sudan has accepted the mission, "now it is up to the international community to find the troops and fund these troops," Malwal reported from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. "Probably you are looking at October because it will take time for people to get together and the money put together, but there are states that are ready to move in in August and fund themselves." Malwal declined to name the countries, only saying they are "two or three" African countries.