Germany will send troops to Sudan to support African Union peacekeeping efforts in the war-torn region of Darfur. On Friday, Sudan's government and southern rebels agreed to reach a peace deal by the end of the year.
Sudan's displaced refugees wait for an end to the violence
The signing of the resolution to end 21 years of civil war in Sudan took place at a special session of the United Nations Security Council in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Sudan's government and its southern rebel foes promised to end Africa's longest running civil war by Dec. 31.
An extraordinary session of the UN Security Council took place in Nairobi this week.
Just ahead of the signing, the German government said it would pledge around 200 soldiers plus air transport capabilities to the African Union's mission in charge of monitoring peace efforts in Sudan.
Government spokesman Bela Anda said African Union troops from Nigeria, Rwanda, the Gambia and Tanzania are to be given logistical support for their deployment in the crisis region of Darfur.
"The aim of the mission is to contribute to a stabilization of the region by supporting relief efforts and by helping protect the population there," he said. "Germany's armed forces will support the deployment of peacekeeping troops by providing military transport capabilities."
Rebels in Sudan's south have been fighting the government in Khartoum since 1983, when Khartoum tried to impose Islamic law on the entire country. A separate rebel conflict erupted in the Darfur region nearly two years ago, spawning what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Haruun Ruun, secretary general of the southern-based New Sudan Council of Churches, said there is a genocide going on in Darfur, mainly by government-mobilized Arab "self-defense militias," which are accused of carrying out atrocities against local black Africans.
"One race wants to dominate the other race," Ruun said. "One race wants to use the other race as labor without giving them their rights. So we want the international community to really support the African Union to make sure that the African Union forces are able to respond to the situation and not just watch people being killed."
Germany’s opposition conservatives and liberals said they are willing to support the government’s decision to send troops in a parliamentary vote scheduled for the end of November. At the same time, however, they claimed that the troop shipments for the African Union would bring the Bundeswehr to its limits as up to 8,000 troops are already assigned to missions abroad. Any further plans for troop deployment abroad, they said, would be rejected.