US en­voy as­sesses Dar­fur:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The top US en­voy in Su­dan be­gan Sun­day a four-day trip to Dar­fur to as­sess se­cu­rity in the wartorn re­gion as the UN pre­pares to down­size its 17,000-strong peace­keep­ing force.

The visit of Steven Kout­sis, Wash­ing­ton’s charge d’af­faires in Khar­toum, also comes just weeks be­fore Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion de­cides whether to per­ma­nently lift a two-decades old US trade em­bargo on Su­dan.

A joint re­port sent to the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil last month by the African Union and the United Na­tions rec­om­mends that the ceil­ing set for mil­i­tary troops be cut by 44 per­cent and the max­i­mum num­ber of po­lice re­duced by 30 per­cent in the UNAMID force.

Ahead of the ex­pected draw­down, Kout­sis em­barked on a visit to Dar­fur for a first-hand as­sess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion.

The en­voy met sev­eral Su­danese and UN of­fi­cials, as well as tribal chiefs, aca­demics and mem­bers of civil so­ci­ety groups in the North Dar­fur cap­i­tal of El-Fashir..

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