Two top UN Officials briefed the Security Council on Darfur today, warning that the peace process had reached an impasse and that the peacekeeping force was stalled. Meanwhile, reports are emerging of a fresh round of government attacks on villages in West Darfur. From Warren Hoge

Jan Eliasson, the special envoy for Darfur, said the present impasse could cause the people of Darfur, particularly those in overcrowded camps, to lose confidence in the ability of the United Nations to help them.

Jean-Marie Guehenno, the under secretary general for peacekeeping, warned that if Darfurians “see that we cannot meet their expectations — and their expectations are very high — then I think they will be in a very difficult situation.”

[snip]

Mr. Guehenno said the international peacekeeping force for Darfur urgently needed a decision by the government in Khartoum to permit the participation of critical military units from Thailand and Nepal. Only a third of the anticipated 26,000 members of the force — a joint effort by the United Nations and the African Union — are in Darfur, and the government has been objecting to the participation of non-African troops…The force also lacked the 18 tactical and six attack helicopters it needs, despite a loan promised this week of a small number of aircraft from Ethiopia. “Darfur is a vast area, and we must have the ability to quickly move troops to strategic points,” Mr. Guehenno said.

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