US offers to airlift 4,000 Darfur peacekeepers

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) -- The U.S. envoy for Africa says Washington is ready to airlift equipment and as many as 4,000 peacekeepers -- including Ethiopians and Egyptians -- for the joint U.N.-African Union mission to Darfur.

The mission started deploying in Darfur in January, but remains at less than half of its 26,000 authorized capacity. It has complained of Sudanese government stonewalling and transport problems.

After Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was accused of genocide in Darfur, authorities eased some procedures.

Sudan's Foreign Minister Deng Alor says his government welcomes the U.S. airlift offer from the U.S. diplomat, Jendayi Frazer.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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