Khartoum: The UN Security Council has extended the mandate of the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region (UNAMID) for one year.
In the resolution passed late on Friday, the Security Council also welcomed the planned review of the number of uniformed personnel required for the mission to operate effectively, a UN statement said.
UNAMID, established in 2007, is the largest UN peacekeeping operation in the world with around 23,000 uniformed personnel and an annual budget, up to June 30, of more than $1.8 billion.
The Security Council also demanded that all parties to the Darfur conflict, "including all armed movements, engage in talks immediately, and without preconditions," to reach a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace settlement.
Earlier this month, the government signed a peace accord in Doha with the Liberation and Justice Movement, a coalition of a rebel splinter factions.
But Darfur's main armed groups -- the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and factions of the Sudan Liberation Army headed by Minni Minnawi and Abdelwahid Nur -- did not sign the agreement, with JEM sources saying it failed to address the key issues.
Some analysts say the accord was aimed primarily at pleasing the international community, rather than the people of Darfur.
At least 300,000 people have been killed and 1.9 million people have fled their homes since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime, the United Nations says.
The government puts the death toll at 10,000 and blames the ongoing lack of security on tribal conflict, minority armed forces and banditry.
First Published: Saturday, July 30, 2011, 15:04