Bush, Mbeki discuss Darfur crisis
Live Punjab News Service
Washington -- US President George W. Bush met with South African President Thabo Mbeki to discuss the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region and the need for deploying an international peacekeeping force there.
"We talked about Darfur and the need for South Africa, US and other nations to work with the Sudanese government to enable a peacekeeping force into that country to facilitate aid and save lives," Bush said Friday.
The UN Security Council has already approved sending peacekeepers to Darfur, but the government in Sudan has blocked a deployment, arguing that it can manage the conflict and that a force would violate its sovereignty.
The UN peacekeepers were to relieve several thousand African Union troops that have run out of time and money.
Mbeki has endorsed sending more peacekeeping troops to Darfur to quell three years of ethnic conflict that has killed over 300,000 people and resulted in over two million refugees. The US has termed the killings "genocide".
"We must increase the troops deployed in Darfur," Mbeki said.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral relations, expanding free trade, combating trade, Iran and the Middle East conflict.