UN chief worried about continued delay on Darfur peacekeeping force

The UN chief appealed to the Sudanese government and other member states to step up efforts to facilitate the deployment of a planned peacekeeping force in Darfur, expressing concern at repeated delays. "I am concerned that the security incidents over the past month and the continuing delays in the deployment of UNAMID (African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur) could lead to a further deterioration in the situation on the ground," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a report officially released Monday. Ban said deteriorating security and increased violence on both sides in recent months, including an attack on an African peacekeeping base in late September that left 10 people dead, "suggests the need to deploy a robust and credible force to Darfur is urgent." He appealed to the Sudanese government to approve a list of potential troop-contributing countries to the 26,000-strong joint UN-AU force, which is meant to assume responsibility for Darfur on December 31.