Sudan has agreed to a combined United Nations and African Union force to be deployed in its troubled Darfur region. After two days of meetings in the capital of neighbouring Ethiopia, the Sudanese government has accepted proposals to send up to 19,000 troops to keep the peace.
An African Union spokesman called on the UN security council to authorise the unique hybrid force without delay. Rebels took up arms in 2003, accusing Khartoum of ignoring their demands. The government armed Arab militia groups to crush the revolt. They have since been accused of rape and murder.
International experts believe 200,000 people have died, and more than 2-million have been forced into refugee camps during the four year conflict. The current African Union force of 7,000 has been struggling to contain the violence, but Khartoum was wary of accepting a totally UN deployment, saying it would be like a Western invasion.
The exact make-up of the new peacekeeping force has yet to be decided.