U.N. request refused by Egypt's president

March 24, 2007 at 2:24 PM

CAIRO, March 24 (UPI) -- A request from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon regarding peacekeepers in Darfur was rebuffed Saturday by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The U.N. official had asked Mubarak to speak with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in the hopes that the Egyptian leader could convince him to allow U.N. troops into Darfur, the New York Times said.

Ongoing violence in Darfur has killed 200,000 people and the United Nations wants to support the African Union mission there with military forces.

Egypt's ambassador to the United Nations explained Saturday that Mubarak's decision was not actually a refusal, but an unwillingness to move forward without appropriate support.

"It's not a no," Maged Abdelaziz said. "We're willing to spend all the effort with the Sudanese to find a solution, but we're trying to gather those factions that are still outside the Abuja peace agreement to encourage them to respond positively."

The Times said that Abdelaziz added that his nation has counseled Sudan in the matter and urged them to react in an acceptable matter.

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