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EU deployment force set for Darfur border

CAIRO, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - Some 40 EU military representatives arrived in Chad's capital N'Djamena to lay the ground for the deployment of EU peacekeepers in areas bordering Darfur, a western province of Sudan.

Deployment of the 26,000-strong peacekeeping force is due to begin in November.

An EU delegation consisting of military officials is currently planning to visit the deployment site to consider arrangements for funding and supplies, an EU spokesman said.

The spokesman also said the delegation will spend four days in N'Djamena.

On September 25, the UN Security Council approved resolution 1778 on the deployment of an international force to be provided by the UN and EU in eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic. The peacekeepers are to improve the security of refugees in these regions.

Some 236,000 Darfur refugees now live in Chad along the border with Sudan, and around 173,000 of Chad's population are currently living in camps, the UN said.

About 7,000 peacekeepers from the 26-nation African Union are currently posted in the war-torn region, but they are expected to be replaced with a 26,000-strong joint force from the African Union and the UN in 2008.

In March 2007, the UN accused Sudan's government of orchestrating and taking part in "gross violations" in Darfur, and called for urgent international action to protect civilians.

Since the conflict began in February 2003, ethnic violence has taken the lives of at least 200,000 people, mostly among black African farmers, from which rebel groups fighting the central government in Khartoum draw their numbers, the UN says.

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