UN chief hopes to strengthen deployment in Darfur

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he hopes next week's meeting of UN, African Union and Sudanese officials will lead to a quick strengthening of African troops in Darfur and deployment of UN peacekeepers to beef up the force. Monday's technical meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will be followed by high-level consultations on Darfur at UN headquarters on April 16-17 with AU chief executive Alpha Oumar Konare and the two envoys trying to promote a political settlement of the four-year conflict in the Sudanese region, the UN's Jan Eliasson and the AU's Salim Ahmed Salim, he said.