Ban urges UNSC to approve Darfur force of 26,000

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council on Monday to authorize a 26,000-strong peacekeeping force for Darfur this week and called for a faster timetable to get troops on the ground and combatants to the peace table. "We must now push the pace hard" on the military front and in pursuing a political solution to the four-year conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million, he told a news conference. But a draft resolution circulated last week by Britain, France and Ghana that would approve the "hybrid" African Union-United Nations force has run into strong opposition from some council members and Sudan because it also threatens "further measures" against combatants who obstruct peace efforts and raises other humanitarian and political issues.