Monday, August 2, 2004

Sudan rejects UN resolution deadline

Sudan has condemned a 30 day deadline set by the United Nations Security Council for action on Darfur, but has said it would implement a 90 day program as agreed earlier with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

In a resolution passed on Friday, the Security Council demanded the Sudanese Government take action within 30 days to disarm Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, blamed for creating a humanitarian crisis in the western region. If Sudan fails to satisfy the council, the United Nations said it intends to consider economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Sudan has given a mixed response to the resolution and the cabinet met on Sunday to take a formal position.

"The council of ministers condemned the time period and views it to be illogical and difficult to implement, especially since the agreement we reached with the United Nations gave a 90 day implementation period," Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail told reporters after the meeting. "Sudan will commit to implement the agreement that it signed on July 3 with Kofi Annan and will commit to the joint implementation mechanism which was set up to monitor this agreement," the minister added.

The agreement with Mr Annan included a Sudanese Government commitment to disarm the Janjaweed militias and accept human rights monitors in Darfur, where conflict has displaced more than 1 million people.

Mr Ismail said UN and Sudanese officials would meet on Monday. An assistant administrator with the United States Agency for International Development, Roger Winter, said in addition to the 30,000 people who have been killed in the Darfur violence, as many as 50,000 more may have died from hunger and disease.

"That number will start to jet up a good bit over the next few months and then it will start to tail off because a lot of the most vulnerable people ... will have died by then," he said last week in Washington after returning from Sudan.

Sudan says it has already started to crack down on the militias, who have been attacking African villages, looting, raping, burning houses and driving the people off the land.

Villagers have taken refuge in camps in Darfur or across the border in Chad.

By In Solidarity 2 August 04


African Union considers Sudan peacekeeping mission
Intervention considered: The African Union says the Sudanese Government has failed to stop the bloodshed.

Annan urges more aid for Sudan
UN secretary-general Kofi Annan is pressing governments for more aid for the troubled Darfur region, as the Security Council considers threatening the Sudanese Government with sanctions over its role in the humanitarian crisis in the region.

Sudan vows to resist Darfur intervention
A crowd of boys welcomes the arrival of a convoy of Red Cross trucks carrying food and supplies to a camp between Chad and Sudan.

Annan, African leaders to hold Sudan talks
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will hold talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and other African leaders on peace initiatives in Sudan and Ivory Coast on Thursday, a Nigerian spokeswoman said.

Sudan warns against foreign intervention
Sudan has warned it will use force against any attempt at outside military intervention in the crisis-torn Darfur region, while rebels called for the quick arrival of foreign troops.

Sudanese refugees flood into Chad
Aid agencies in Chad are bracing for the arrival of more refugees from Sudan's devastated Darfur region. The United Nations estimates that up to 200,000 refugees have already crossed into Chad from Sudan and fears that as many again are on their way.

US threatens Sudan with UN sanctions
The United States has circulated a United Nations resolution threatening sanctions against the Sudan government if Khartoum did not prosecute Arab militia leaders in the western Darfur region.

UN sanctions for Sudan 'unlikely'
United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan says Sudan has made little progress in curbing marauding militias in the Darfur region but diplomats said sanctions against Khartoum were unlikely.

Sudan rejects human rights report on Darfur
The Sudanese government has slammed a report by Human Rights Watch over the strife-torn western region of Darfur and accused the organisation of attempting to provoke the UN Security Council into imposing sanctions against the country.

African Union tries to revive failed Darfur talks
The African Union (AU) says it has made fresh contact with the government of Sudan and Darfur rebels in an effort to revive peace talks that broke down over the weekend.

Health catastrophe looms in Sudan: UN
A malnourished Sudanese refugee child lies at a feeding centre in Iriba Town in Chad. The World Health Organisation has warned a major health catastrophe could erupt in western Sudan's Darfur region if the needed funds, personnel and supplies were not made available.

Sudan decrees end to relief restrictions
The Sudanese Government, under international pressure to help displaced people in the western region of Darfur, has ordered an end to restrictions on the movement of relief organisations and imports of relief supplies.

Sudan urged to take urgent action to protect refugees
The UN is urging the Sudanese Government to take urgent action to protect more than 1 million refugees.

Terrorism obscuring world crises, Sir William says
The former governor-general, Sir William Deane, has advised Australians not to lose perspective about international crises during the ongoing focus on terrorism.