Friday, March 11, 2005

UN extends Darfur peace mission

The United Nations Security Council has voted to extend the UN mission in Sudan for one week as the council tries to work out an agreement on a peacekeeping operation and how to stop the bloodshed in Darfur.

UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has asked the council to authorise a 10,000-strong peace force to help stabilise Africa's largest nation after the government and rebels ended a 21-year civil war in January.

But the 15-nation council has been at odds for weeks over questions relating to the separate conflict in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region, where an independent commission found crimes against humanity were likely committed.

The United States has been unable to drum up wide support for targeted sanctions against those responsible for those crimes -- or for its opposition to referring the matter to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

"I think that the council is united in its belief that the peacekeeping operation needs to be deployed immediately, and that we can't wait any longer," US envoy Stuart Holliday said after a council meeting.

He acknowledged there was no consensus on the array of US proposals but said he expected the council to vote next week.

Earlier this week the UN's emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, said that the death toll in Darfur was perhaps three to five times higher than the estimate of 70,000 dead that emerged late last year.

After rebels in Darfur rose up against Sudan's Arab-led government, Khartoum turned to proxy militias to help put down the rebellion -- and those militias have been blamed for a scorched-earth campaign of murder, rape and pillaging.

By In Solidarity 11 March 05


UN relief boss warns Sudanese rebels
The United Nations' emergency relief coordinator, Jan Egeland, has called on rebel groups in the Darfur region of Sudan to stop kidnapping aid workers and looting aid convoys.

Top UN official concerned about 'lack of progress' in Darfur
The top UN official in Sudan has expressed concern about a "lack of progress on the ground" in reining in marauding Arab militias in Sudan's western Darfur region, the United Nations said.

Sudan launches fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur: UN
Sudan has carried out fresh helicopter attacks in Darfur, worsening an already desperate humanitarian situation, while Arab militia targeted refugees trying to escape the conflict, the United Nations said.

African Union may send 2,000 troops to Darfur
The African Union (AU) may boost the number of troops deployed to Sudan's troubled Darfur region to 2,000, subject to the move gaining approval at a meeting of its members, a spokesman said.

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.

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.

Indonesian Election: Australia $48 Million?
The threat from terror groups and failed states means Australia needs a high-tech, rapid deployment defence force, the defence minister says.

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.

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.

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.

Health catastrophe looms in Sudan: UN
A malnourished Sudanese refugee child lies at a feeding centre in Iriba Town in Chad.

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.