France to present Chad-CAR troop resolution - paper

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PARIS, Sep 24 (Reuters) France is to present a U N resolution this week proposing a year-long deployment of up to 4,000 European police and soldiers to regions bordering Darfur, French daily Le Monde said today.

The report said Paris would supply about half the 3,000 soldiers needed for the mission.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will be in New York for the UN General Assembly, hopes the resolution on the force in Chad and the Central African Republic would be adopted as early as Tuesday, Le Monde said.

Since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003 some 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have fled their homes for sprawling camps in Sudan and neighbouring Chad.

The Darfur spillover has worsened existing humanitarian problems in both Chad and the Central African Republic.

Those countries have indigenous conflicts, with rebels fighting the governments and bandits roaming their vast unprotected areas preying on vulnerable civilians.

Le Monde said the ''multidimensional presence'' in neighbouring Chad and Central African Republic was aimed at helping refugees return, protecting civilians in danger, and facilitating humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts.

One part of the mission would focus on police operations, with 300 UN police officers supporting some 850 police officials from Chad at refugee camps.

The other part, made up of some 3,000 soldiers, would be military and conducted under the aegis of the European Union, with a mission to make volatile regions in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR secure, it said.

''Paris only wants French troops to make up half of the some 3,000 soldiers who will join eastern Chad from the beginning of November,'' Le Monde said.

The headquarters of the European force would be in Paris, operating under a UN mandate, but its command would not be French, the newspaper said, adding talks were under way to convince Sweden to take the command.

Around 7,000 African Union police and troops have failed to stem the violence in Darfur. After months of negotiations and threats, Khartoum accepted a 26,000-strong joint UN-African Union force to absorb the struggling AU mission.

The European force in Chad and CAR would support the Darfur peacemaking force, Le Monde said.

Reuters JK RN1733

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