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Military observers to go to southern Sudan

The government has agreed to allow unarmed military observers to be sent to the United Nations mission in Sudan (Unmis), the defence ministry said on Wednesday.

The UN last month requested two observers to join the peacekeeping mission to carry out duties including monitoring, reporting and mediation in tense situations.

Since the UN is likely to submit further similar requests, the government decided to approve the dispatch of up to four observers.

Unmis was established in 2005 to oversee the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended more than 20 years of civil war between north and south Sudan. The CPA gave the south a large measure of autonomy and provided for a referendum on independence, which is due to be held in 2011.

The task of Unmis is to provide humanitarian help, monitor the observance of human rights and support the reform of the security forces, the establishment of a legal system and the restructuring of the police.

It is separate from the joint UN and African Union mission in Darfur, Unamid, for which Switzerland has also agreed to dispatch four unarmed observers.

The Sudanese government has limited the allocation of visas to westerners attached to Unamid, and therefore no Swiss has been sent yet. However, westerners attached to Unmis have not had visa problems. and agencies

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