The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) is going to review the pan-African body's peacekeeping mission in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur, an AU spokesman said here Tuesday.
"The Peace and Security Council has stressed its readiness to study whether to extend the mandate of the AU mission in Darfur, which will expire on Sept. 30," said Nour al-Din Mazeni.
Qatar's al-Jazeera television reported earlier Tuesday that the AU council, at a meeting on Monday, had decided to end the mission of the 7300-strong African forces monitoring a fragile cease-fire between the conflicting sides in Darfur.
"The Peace and Security Council will review the issue as soon as an agreement is reached between the Sudanese government and the United Nations on the deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur," Mazeni told Xinhua.
He disclosed that the council would hold a meeting on the level of foreign ministers during a UN General Assembly in New York on Sept. 18.
The AU spokesman underlined the necessity of Sudan's agreement before any decision was made on extending the mandate of the African forces in Darfur or changing them into the vanguard of the proposed UN peacekeeping forces to be sent to the region.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir reiterated Monday his government's refusal to the UN Security Council Resolution 1706, which calls for deployment of more than 10,000 international peacekeepers in Darfur to replace the ill-funded and poorly-equipped African forces.
"This resolution will lead to flagrant interference in Sudan's internal affairs, the violation of its sovereignty and dignity as well as the re-colonization of the country," the Sudanese president told a meeting of high-ranking officers of the country's armed forces.