Hilary Benn (Secretary of State, Department for International Development; Leeds Central, Labour)
I am about to come to that very point. I was trying to help hon. Members by outlining the nature of the agreement.
There will be an African force commander and the force will come from Africa in the first instance, but it was recognised in the meeting that if all the forces could not come from Africa, they would have to come from elsewhere. On the numbers, everyone in the room except the Government of Sudan accepted the assessment that the AU and the UN had jointly made, which the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council back in July, of there being a need for 17,000-plus troops and 3,000 police. What the Government of Sudan said at the meeting was that they recognise the need for more troops. They were not persuaded by the figure of 17,000, and went away to think about that and two other points. The first was the appointment of the force commander, because the Secretary-General has suggested that the force commander should be jointly appointed by the AU and the UN. The second was whether there should be a special representative to whom the force commander would report politically, also appointed by the AU and the UN. Those are the issues that President Lam Akol said he would go away and talk to the President of Sudan about. As we meet this morning, we are waiting for the response of the Government of Sudan. The AU Peace and Security Council meeting was delayed from last