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The conflict in Darfur has created thousands of refugees. (CP photo)

NATO says it would support a United Nations force in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region.

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says the organization's members wouldn't put troops on the ground, but would be willing to support a UN mission with logistical and training help.

"NATO indeed assists the African Union in Darfur," said de Hoop Scheffer, speaking to reporters in Washington after meeting with President George W. Bush.

"And I'm quite sure, as I've told the president, that when the UN comes, the NATO allies will be ready to do more in enabling the United Nations force in Darfur."

Bush said the situation in Darfur needs action, including a request from the African Union for international help.

"The African Union mission [needs to be converted] to a UN mission [then] NATO can move in – with United States help within, inside of NATO – to make it clear to the Sudanese government that we're intent upon providing security for the people there, and intent upon helping work toward a lasting peace agreement," said Bush.

The UN has described Darfur as the world's gravest humanitarian crisis. More than 180,000 people have died in fighting in the region, and two million have been displaced.

The African Union has a peacekeeping force in the area.