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African Union Chair Calls for End to Darfur ‘Tragedy’

Tells VOA the future UN peacekeeping force should include a strong African component

Washington, D.C., June 7, 2006 – Republic of Congo President and African Union Chair Denis Sassou N'Guesso told the Voice of America (VOA) Tuesday that he agrees with U.S. President George W. Bush that the international community should do everything possible to end the “tragedy” in Darfur.

In an exclusive interview with VOA’s French to Africa Service, Sassou N'Guesso discussed his recent meeting with President Bush and stressed the importance of a strong African component in the future UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in Darfur.

Commenting on the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sassou N'Guesso said that, if asked, he would be willing to moderate a political dialogue before the July 30 elections. Several major opposition parties and the Catholic Church have called on the African Union to facilitate talks on the extension of the political transition in DRC.

Asked about the internal politics in Congo Brazzaville, Sassou N'Guesso dismissed calls by the opposition to set up an independent electoral commission before next year’s general elections. He went on to say that the present Commission is “actually independent”; however, opposition parties point out that current Commission members were named by Sassou N'Guesso.

On another subject, Sassou N'Guesso thanked President Bush for the U.S. contribution to the fight against AIDS in Africa. He called on western countries and pharmaceutical companies to make available cheap treatments for African patients: “In the fight against AIDS, we see that most world patients are in Africa but the treatments are elsewhere. We need to bring the two together”.

For more information on this interview and VOA French to Africa programming, visit our web site at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.

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