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Sudan will allow African troops but not U.N. force

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(CNN) -- Sudan will allow a force of African Union troops to remain in Darfur past September, but not as part of a U.N. force that includes other international troops, the Sudanese government said Monday.

"The government will not accept the change of the African troops to international forces," the government news agency SUNA reported, attributing the statement to presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail.

"He said the government is not against the African troops in Darfur but it is against the African troops becoming an advance for the international forces," SUNA reported.

African Union troops have been in Darfur trying to bring order to one of the most troubled regions on earth. Pro-government Arab militias have attacked black Africans, carrying out widespread rape, torture and pillaging of villages in what the U.S. government has declared a genocide.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday voted 12-0 for a resolution that would put a U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region -- provided Sudan did not oppose it.

The African Union mandate is set to expire Sept. 30. SUNA reported that Ismail said if the African Union wanted to extend that mandate, the Sudanese government would welcome it, but it would not allow the those troops to stay as part of an international force.

The United Nations says tens of thousands of people "have been killed in the past three years and 2 million others have been forced to flee their homes amid fighting between the Sudanese armed forces, allied militias and rebel groups."

The Sudanese government has come under criticism from human rights groups for allegedly allowing the militias to carry out atrocities, or at the least failing to stop them. Government officials have denied the accusations and said they were taking steps to halt the violence.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton told CNN that President Bush "has made it clear he wants to stop the genocide in Sudan. "We're going to continue to put pressure on Sudan and work with the African Union and others. We're not giving up on this."


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Demonstrators protest against a proposed deployment of a U.N. force in Darfur.

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