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Thread: "Official' Darfur thread

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    :box "Official' Darfur thread




    KHARTOUM, Sudan: The No. 2 U.S. diplomat arrived in Sudan as part of an international push to convince the government to accept a U.N. peacekeeping force in the violence wracked Darfur region.

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's visit Thursday came as the United States said it is holding off on imposing sanctions against Sudan so negotiations can take place on whether Sudan will allow a U.N. force to join the 7,000 African Union troops currently protecting people of Darfur.

    Under U.N.-backed agreements approved last fall, a force of 22,000 African Union and U.N. peacekeepers are to be deployed in Darfur to protect and provide relief for 2.5 million Darfurians who have been forced from their homes and are now confined to camps.

    An estimated 200,000 people have been killed in the four-year conflict in Darfur, a region the size of France, that began when rebels from ethnic African tribes rose up against the central government. Khartoum is accused of having responded by unleashing the janjaweed militias of Arab nomads — blamed for indiscriminate killing in Darfur. The government denies these charges.

    Sudan's government has agreed to the initial stages of the proposed deployment. But President Omar al-Bashir has rejected full deployment, concerned that Sudanese sovereignty will be violated and the troops will arrest Sudanese officials suspected of authorizing war crimes.

    Negroponte — who is beginning a four-nation African tour — was to hold his first official meetings with Sudanese officials Sunday, the day after his visit to Darfur. On Friday, he was to travel to the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba, where a separate administration has been in place since a 2005 peace deal ended two decades of civil war there.

    Negroponte also was to stop in Libya, making him the highest ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Tripoli in more than half a century.

    Meanwhile, Senegal said it may pull its peacekeepers out of Darfur if the African Union is unable to ensure their safety, an influential Cabinet group in this West African country said Thursday.

    The deaths of five Senegalese peacekeepers in Darfur a little over a week ago brought to 16 the number of peacekeepers killed in the region since African Union forces were sent there three years ago. Senegal has about 500 troops in the AU force.

    "If the African Union is not empowered and given the means to assure the safety of our people in the field, the government of Senegal could foresee a pullout of its peacekeepers," said the statement issued by the country's Council of Ministers, a group of 42 ministers that reports directly to the president.

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    Sudanese want action on Darfur



    By Rob Crilly

    Khartoum, Sudan Diplomatic maneuvering over Darfur reached a crescendo in the past week as the international community keeps up pressure on Sudan to allow in UN peacekeepers.

    A 7,000-strong African Union force has failed to end the bloodshed in a region where more than 200,000 people have died and two and half million been forced from their homes.

    Despite renewed threats of sanctions last week from Britain and the US, the United Nations' special envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliason, said Monday that the international community "was happy" with Sudan's recent concession to allow 3,000 UN peacekeepers to support the AU troops in Darfur.

    But among both opposition politicians and ordinary people in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, there appears to be a growing sense of impatience with the government's inability to work with the international community to stem the crisis in Darfur.

    "We think that the government is the cause of this problem because of its policies of human rights violations and killings, and is responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe," says Abdi Rahman Alghali, the deputy general secretary of the opposition Umma Party. "We think the African Union force is unable to protect civilians, so we support the [UN's efforts] to protect civilians and the work of the humanitarian agencies."

    Several humanitarian agencies, including Oxfam and Mercy Corps, said Monday that increased violence forced them to suspend their work in the town of Um Dukun in Darfur. The agencies said the move would disrupt services to some 100,000 people.

    Eventually the UN wants to see a joint "hybrid force" of 20,000.

    Lots of talk, little action
    But even as last week's deal was struck, many Sudan watchers pointed out that Khartoum had a history of letting its commitments slide.

    Indeed, Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the UN, thought he had obtained a similar agreement back in November only to see the Sudanese government find excuses in the small print to back out.

    "We hear a lot of talk, but there has been no action," says Mr. Alghali.

    The British and US threat of fresh sanctions is seen as a way of keeping pressure on Khartoum  a city where oil wealth is being rapidly converted into shiny office blocks, new hotels, and golf courses.

    But over the weekend, Ban Ki Moon, secretary-general of the UN, urged Britain and the US in particular to allow Sudan more time to comply.

    "My position is that when the moment of truth comes and we know that they will not be faithful in implementing this commitment, then I will leave it to Security Council members to take the necessary measures against Sudan," he said.

    The idea is met with derision by some of those operating at the sharp end of Sudanese public life.

    Alfred Taban, editor in chief of the Khartoum Monitor, one of the few independent newspapers in the country, says the Sudanese people want decisive measures.

    "How many resolutions have there been  including one to make the government disarm the janjaweed [Arab militias]?" he asks. "So what more time does Ban Ki Moon need?

    "The Sudanese people are becoming very angry at the lack of action, but they cannot talk, they cannot say anything because the media is all controlled by the government," says Mr. Taban.

    He knows only too well how the government controls the press. His paper has been shut down 10 times in its seven-year history.

    Like many here, he believes that Khartoum has no interest in ending the war in Darfur. After ceding control of the oil-rich south of Sudan following its own civil war, he says the government fears Darfur may also go it alone.

    "The answer is that pressure must be kept on the government to find some middle ground with the Darfuris, to give them something, but at the moment there is no progress at all on finding a political solution," he says in his air-conditioned office above the paper's cramped newsroom.

    Pushing Khartoum into a corner?
    That argument falls on deaf ears among government supporters, including those who campaigned for the South's independence and are now members of a government of national unity.

    Ghazi Suleiman, a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which fought Khartoum for more than two decades, says talk of sanctions undermines recent progress.

    "I would like to see President Bush say that Sudan did the right thing in accepting the package and that he looks forward to more cooperation instead of talking about sanctions. This causes us and our parties big problems," he says at his Khartoum home.

    He insists that aid agencies exaggerate the scale of the humanitarian disaster, which results in unfair criticism from the West.

    "They just come after us like a dog hunting a rabbit. The dog knows why it is hunting the rabbit but the rabbit does not," he says.

    At the open-air Ozone cafe, where jazz gently buzzes in the background and increasingly wealthy Sudanese sip cappuccinos and nibble at cheesecake, there is little talk of Darfur  it could be a world away.

    But when the topic is raised, many express sympathy for those in Darfur.

    A young teacher, who gives her name only as Intesar, says international forces are the answer. Everyone in the small group with her nods in agreement. Most express similar views, but request not to be quoted, even anonymously, for fear of government.

    "Khartoum must accept international forces to protect the people there and I think sanctions  targeted at the people responsible, not general ones that would affect ordinary people  would make Khartoum look for a solution more quickly," she says.

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    Row as Sudan blocks 'GM' food aid





    Sudan has agreed to let in a shipment of food for Darfur, after blocking it on the basis it was genetically modified, the UN food agency says.

    The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has welcomed the decision to accept the 100,000 tonnes of US sorghum.

    WFP spokeswoman Caroline Hurford had said the food had been tested to show it was not genetically modified, adding GM sorghum did not even exist.

    Aid agencies are feeding 2.4m people who have fled the Darfur conflict.

    Some aid workers believe that Sudan wants more food aid to be purchased in the country, reports Reuters news agency.

    "We do intend to buy some amount of food from Sudan as they had a bumper harvest but there are limits to how much we can purchase because of funding. Most food aid is given to us in kind, as is the case with the US sorghum," Ms Hurford said.

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    Meanwhile, African Union (AU) peacekeepers say that pro-government militias continue to kill and pillage with impunity in Darfur.

    The Sudanese government says security is improving in Darfur and has repeatedly pledged to disarm the Arab Janjaweed militias.

    Last week, Sudan agreed to let 3,000 UN peacekeepers with helicopter gunships into Darfur to help AU troops.

    But the US wants more than 10,000 UN soldiers to be sent and has threatened to increase sanctions.

    At least 200,000 people are estimated to have died in Darfur since rebels took up arms four years.

    The US says a genocide is being committed against the region's black African population.

    Sudan says the problems are being exaggerated for political reasons.

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    Sudan vows to crush Darfur rebels



    The Sudanese armed forces vowed on Monday to "crush" a coalition of rebel groups in Darfur for killing an officer whose helicopter had landed in north Darfur after a technical failure.

    "The armed forces, while condemning this brutal and treacherous act, vow that they will strike back twice as hard ... and will crush those rebels," the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) quoted an armed forces statement as saying.

    The statement blamed the incident on the National Redemption Front, an alliance of several rebel groups. The rebels said on Sunday they had shot down a government helicopter that attacked their position while they were preparing for unity talks.

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    Darfur talks unlikely before July: Southern Sudan

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    JUBA, Sudan (Reuters) - Efforts to bring Darfur rebel groups to southern Sudan for peace talks with the Khartoum government could take up to three months, an official in charge of organizing the possible negotiations said on Tuesday.
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    The semi-autonomous Government of Southern Sudan, which emerged after a 2005 peace deal that ended 21 years of civil war with the north, has set up a "task force" to contact the rebel groups and bring them to talks in the south.

    Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol told the BBC on Monday the government hoped to meet the rebels in May in Juba, where the southern government, headed by Salva Kiir, is based.

    But the secretary of the "task force" Achier Deng Akol said his commission has yet to contact any group, adding it may take until July to bring them all together.

    "The president (Kiir) expects us to implement our mission in a space of two to three months, so in July if all goes well," he told Reuters about the conference. He said funding was the biggest challenge facing his committee.

    Only one main rebel group, a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, signed a 2006 peace deal with the government. The agreement, however, has failed to stop the violence in Darfur.

    The
    United Nations says some 200,000 people have died and more than 2 million people displaced in Darfur since the conflict flared in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, charging it with neglect.

    Analysts say the fragmentations and divisions among the many Darfur rebel groups, along with the attacks of government forces have hindered the prospects of peace talks despite multiple initiatives by several parties, including neighboring Eritrea.

    The Sudanese armed forces vowed on Monday to "crush" an alliance of Darfur rebels for killing a pilot whose helicopter gunship, according to the army, had landed in north Darfur after a technical failure.

    The rebels say they brought down the government aircraft while it was attacking their site during unity talks. The rebels said they have also captured another officer.

    A delegation from one rebel group, a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement, arrived in Juba without an invitation and discussed the new initiative with the southern government.

    The SLM delegation said on Tuesday the initiative was positive but did not confirm the group would attend the talks.

    The United States and Britain have threatened to bring unspecified United Nations sanctions against the central Sudanese government for rejecting the deployment of a large U.N. force to stop the violence in Sudan's remote western region.

    But southern Sudanese government, dominated by the former rebel group Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), said on Tuesday mechanisms should be found to exempt the south and its booming oil industry from any possible sanctions.

    "We only hope that the Government of Southern Sudan be exempted from sanctions ... we are not directly involved in what is happening (in Darfur)," said Martin Yak, the director of the office of the president of southern Sudan.

    The economy of southern Sudan is dependent on oil revenues administered by the Khartoum-based government of national unity. The oil is exported through Port Sudan in the north.

    "If it is blocked it affects the Government of Southern Sudan, so there must be a mechanism by which these sanctions are formed," Yak added.

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    Last edited by Links30; 05-05-2007 at 04:46 PM.

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    Court issues Darfur arrest warrants



    By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press Writer


    THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The International Criminal Court issued its first arrest warrants Wednesday in the murderous Darfur conflict, seeking to try a government minister and a janjaweed militia leader on charges of mass slayings, rape and torture. Sudan immediately refused to arrest them.
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    After studying prosecution evidence for two months, a three-judge panel decided to seek the arrests rather than to summon the suspects to surrender, saying the evidence supported 51 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    The warrants against Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister, Ahmed Muhammed Harun, and the janjaweed militia's "colonel of colonels," Ali Kushayb, could be a crucial step toward bringing atrocities in the Sudanese province to international justice.

    Richard ################er of New York-based Human Rights Watch said it signaled "the days of absolute impunity ... for horrible crimes in Darfur are winding down."

    Sudan was defiant.

    "Our position is very, very clear — the ICC cannot assume any jurisdiction to judge any Sudanese outside the country," Justice Minister Mohamed Ali al-Mardi told The Associated Press in the Sudanese capital. "Whatever the ICC does, is totally unrealistic, illegal, and repugnant to any form of international law."

    Sudan was not party to the Rome convention that set up the court, he said, implying that it was not obliged to implement its warrants.

    Asked whether Sudan would continue its past sporadic cooperation with the court, al-Mardi answered, "What cooperation? It's over."

    The court's chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said Sudan was legally bound to arrest the men.

    In February, Moreno-Ocampo named Harun and Kushayb as suspects in the murder, rape, torture and persecution of civilians in Darfur.

    Moreno-Ocampo said the arrest warrants underscored the strength of his case, built during a 20-month investigation, even though the treacherous security situation prevented him from sending investigators into Darfur.

    "We transformed (witness) stories into evidence, and now the judges have confirmed the strength of that evidence," he said.

    Harun is currently in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

    Al-Mardi has said a Sudanese investigation into Harun's activities found "not a speck of evidence" against him. The Sudanese government says it has arrested Kushayb pending an internal investigation, but several witnesses told the AP that he was moving freely in Darfur under police protection.

    ################er, of Human Rights Watch, said the international community must press Sudan to arrest the men and send them to
    The Hague.

    Failure to do so, "risks furthering Sudan's isolation on the international stage," he said, noting the 2005
    U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the Darfur investigation calls on Khartoum to cooperate fully with the court and the prosecutor.

    However, getting the suspects to the court, which has no police force of its own, "won't be simple, won't be quick," he said.

    ################er called on China, as a permanent Security Council member, "to use its considerable influence to persuade the Sudanese leadership to cooperate."

    Amnesty International joined in urging Sudan to arrest the suspects and suggested U.N. forces already in the country could detain them. The U.N. has a mission in southern Sudan following a peace treaty in an unrelated north-south war. But Sudan has so far resisted a large U.N. deployment in Darfur, where an undermanned, under-equipped African Union peacekeeping force is struggling.

    The Darfur atrocities allegedly were committed in four towns and villages in West Darfur between August 2003 and March 2004.

    Harun and Kushayb were part of a conspiracy to stamp out support for rebels by "indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population, murder, rape, inhumane acts, cruel treatment, unlawful imprisonment, pillaging, forcible transfer and destruction of property," according to a 94-page prosecution document sent to judges in February.

    In their ruling, the judges cited one such attack, saying that based on prosecutors' evidence, there were "reasonable grounds to believe" that in April 2003 Sudanese troops in four-wheel-drive vehicles mounted with heavy machine guns attacked the town of Bindisi, along with some 500 janjaweed fighters riding horses and camels or on foot. Three planes from the Sudanese air force also bombed the town.

    "The attack continued with members of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the ... janjaweed going from house to house in search of the remaining residents and killing those they found," the judges said.

    Fighting in Darfur has left more than 200,000 dead and displaced 2.5 million in a campaign the U.S. has called genocide.

    The conflict erupted in February 2003 when ethnic African tribesmen took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Khartoum government. Sudan is accused of retaliating by unleashing the janjaweed militia to put down the rebels using a campaign of murder, rape, mutilation and plunder.

    Judges also said evidence pointed to a "unified strategy" by Khartoum of using troops, police, intelligence services and the janjaweed to fight rebels. Janjaweed fighters were trained at government camps, paid and armed by Sudanese authorities, and their leaders wore Sudanese Armed Forces or police uniforms, the judges said.

    Although human rights groups have long made such claims, Wednesday's announcement marks the first time a panel of international judges have issued a ruling on the strength of the evidence.

    At the time of the crimes, Harun, considered part of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's inner circle, was an interior minister responsible for security in Darfur who helped recruit, arm and fund the janjaweed, prosecutors say. Kushayb allegedly commanded thousands of janjaweed fighters in western Darfur.

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    Eritrean President Issaias

    Quote Originally Posted by **Vincy-Soca-Diva** View Post
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    Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki (R) meets Minni Arcua Minawi ( L), leader of the Darfur rebel faction that signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government, in Khartoum April 22, 2007. Afeworki flew to Khartoum over the weekend to discuss peace talks for Sudan's restive Darfur region and a separate eastern peace deal. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdalla (SUDAN).

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    Arrow New Prog-(SUDAN)


    Another Film project in development, once complete, will be hosted in BackChat.

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    Arab countries reluctant to pressure Sudan

    CAIRO, Egypt: Western countries looking for ways to pressure Sudan to curb violence in Darfur have had trouble getting support from the country's Arab neighbors.

    Egypt, whose president met Monday with Sudan's leader, has the greatest influence in the region, but analysts say that without real U.S. pressure, Cairo is unwilling to push Khartoum for fear of jeopardizing its access to the Nile River.

    Monday's meeting did produce a call by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for Khartoum to pursue a comprehensive Darfur peace deal. But this sentiment echoes Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's position that a more inclusive peace agreement — rather than the U.N.'s plan to deploy a large number of troops in the region_ should be the way forward on war-torn Darfur.

    A peace agreement was signed last year between the Sudanese government and one rebel group, but it has failed to stop the violence and other rebel factions have rejected the deal, saying it is insufficient.

    Egyptian presidential spokesman, Suleiman Awad, told reporters Monday that Egypt would only send additional army and police forces to Darfur if a peace deal is reached. Egypt announced last month that it would send 750 troops and 130 military supervisors in the next phase of U.N. troops sent to Darfur, but Awad's statement indicated Egypt was placing conditions on that offer.

    "Mubarak emphasized that Egypt sees no use of some international powers' inclination for increasing pressure on Sudan," Awad told reporters.

    Mubarak — who also spoke about Darfur during a telephone call with U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday — emphasized that dialogue, not sanctions could solve the conflict, Awad said. Egypt has opposed U.S. threats of sanctions against Sudan if the government doesn't allow U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.

    Al-Bashir agreed in November to a U.N. plan to strengthen an ill-equipped and understaffed African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur but has staunchly opposed the third phase — a 20,000-strong "hybrid" U.N.-AU force.

    After five months of stalling, the Sudanese leader recently gave the go-ahead for the plan's second phase of 3,000 U.N. troops, police and civilian personnel and six attack helicopters.

    Analysts say one main reason Cairo is happy to support the Sudanese government is to preserve its access to the Nile River, which runs through Egypt, Sudan and seven other African countries.

    Eric Reeves, a Sudan expert at Massachusetts-based Smith College, said that by backing Sudan in the face of international pressure, Egypt ensures Khartoum will do everything it can to prevent southern Sudan from voting for independence in a 2011 referendum. The vote is part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended Sudan's 21-year civil war.

    "What it (Egypt) sees in the present regime is a regime beholden to it on many accounts," Reeves said.

    The Nile's two main tributaries — the Blue Nile and White Nile — merge in Sudan near Khartoum. The Blue Nile originates in Ethiopia, but the White Nile flows through southern Sudan. Egypt fears that an independent southern Sudan could jeopardize some of Cairo's supply of water from the Nile.

    The Sudanese government, meanwhile, is against secession because much of the country's oil is located in the south.

    "What you see is a convergence of interest between Cairo and Khartoum," at the expense of the Sudanese people, Reeves said.

    Despite occasional calls from U.S. officials for Egypt to support the U.N.'s plan in Darfur, experts say Washington is unwilling use its considerable leverage to alter Cairo's behavior.

    "The U.S. relationship with Egypt in other areas, like the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, is so central, so strategic, the U.S. doesn't want to hint at jeopardizing those other issues," said Tom Cargill, a Sudan specialist at the British think-tank Chatham House.

    The U.S.-led war in Iraq has also reduced America's ability to pressure Egypt and other Arab states over Darfur, said Alex de Waal, a British expert on Sudan at the New York-based Social Science Research Council.

    "The very high rhetoric coming out of Khartoum has allowed Bashir to play the Arab nationalist card," he said. "This has gone down well with the Arab public given Iraq."

    The Sudanese government has also raised fears that the arrival of U.N. forces in Darfur would signal the return of colonialism in Africa.

    Hassan Mekki, the head of Africa University in Sudan, said Cairo won't pressure Khartoum because: "Egypt is afraid what has happened in Iraq will happen in Sudan."

    Fighting in Darfur between the government and ethnic African rebels began in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-led Sudanese government, accusing it of neglect and discrimination. The government is accused of arming the Arab janjaweed militia as a counterinsurgency tactic, and the militiamen have been blamed for widespread rapes and killings of Darfur civilians.

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    UN accuses Sudan of disproportionate attacks



    Geneva: The United Nations' human rights chief yesterday said recent air raids by Sudanese forces on at least five Darfur villages appeared to be 'indiscriminate and disproportionate', and violated international law.

    The attacks between April 19 and 29 have already been condemned by US Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, although Khartoum says they never took place.

    Casualties

    Making no reference to the Sudanese denial, the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said the attacks were reportedly carried out by helicopter gunships and Antonov aircraft.

    There were 'numerous civilian casualties and destruction of property,' with schoolchildren among the wounded, Arbour's spokesman Jose Luis Diaz said in a statement. At least five villages near Al Fasher in North Darfur were targeted during 10 days of attacks which had 'contributed to an already critical humanitarian situation'. "The bombardments appear to have been indiscriminate and disproportionate", and as such constituted "violations of international humanitarian and human rights law," Diaz added.

    Earlier this month, Ban called for an end to air raids by Sudanese forces, which he said had caused civilian deaths and destruction, although he gave few details at the time.

    But Sudan's ambassador to the UN Abdul Mahmoud Abdul Haleem denied the reported attacks and said rumours were being spread by people out to torpedo peace talks with rebels.

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    Rights group says EU must end rhetoric and act

    The European Union has been accused of delaying the tough action against Sudanthat was promised by leaders including Tony Blair and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

    In a letter to EU foreign ministers ahead of a meeting in Brussels next Monday, the European director of Human Rights Watch, Lotte Leicht, urged the EU to "translate rhetoric into effective action".

    She said Europe should no longer hide behind the UN by "passing the buck" to the Security Council, which has failed to impose individually targeted sanctions against any senior Sudanese policymakers.



    According to sources in Brussels, the draft conclusions of Monday's meeting will for the first time this year refrain from mentioning Darfur sanctions, which many believe is the only way to pressure the Sudanese government. "This flies in the face of the policy to build pressure for tougher action," said one source.

    Leading European writers on 24 March, in a letter to The Independent coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the EU, called on Europe to take action to stop the killings and human rights abuses in Darfur.

    Human Rights Watch is calling for the immediate imposition of EU visa bans and travel restrictions against individuals involved in serious human rights abuses, and the freezing of their assets.

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    Sudan official rebukes China over Darfur

    It only aggravates the war

    Deputy governor of Sudan's central bank warns Chinese investment in oil could help fund weapons purchases in country.


    By Benjamin Morgan - SHANGHAI

    China's involvement in Sudanese energy projects could worsen the nation's four-year civil war, the deputy governor of Sudan's central bank said here Thursday.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the African Development Bank meeting in Shanghai, Elijah Aleng said Chinese investment in Sudanese oil could help fund weapons purchases in the northeast African nation.

    "They might have good intentions but when you exploit oil resources and you sell it and nothing goes to the populations, then you are financing the war against them with the resources," Aleng said.

    China is the leading customer for Sudanese oil and a key supplier of military arms and equipment to Sudan's government.


    Sudan's leaders have welcomed China's military and political support and the two sides vowed last month to deepen their ties.

    Aleng said he was a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M), originally a rebel movement based in southern Sudan.

    In 2005, the SPLA/M signed a peace pact with Khartoum and now is represented in the Sudan government.

    "It only aggravates the war," Aleng said, referring to how oil money ends up being spent on weapons. "You have Sudanese killing Sudanese."

    About 200,000 people have died in the four-year civil war in western Sudan's Darfur region and two million more have fled their homes according to UN figures, although some sources put the death toll much higher.

    Many Western critics accuse the Sudanese government of genocide for its role in the violence.

    China has also been criticised for not using its clout as a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council to force Khartoum to end the violence in Darfur.

    Aleng urged China to use its position to greater influence.

    "We would like (China's UN vote) to be used in such a way that it creates harmony in Sudan, not discord," Aleng said.

    Aleng's comments flew in the face of a speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the two-day African Development Bank meeting that stressed China's interests in the continent were well-intentioned.

    "We are truly sincere in helping Africa speed up its economic and social development for the benefit of African countries and its people," Wen told the 2,000 delegates attending the meeting on Wednesday.

    Aleng also said that southern Sudan and China were in discussions that he hoped could lead to projects with greater benefits for Sudan.

    "Where you exploit oil you need to be considerate about the situation of the citizens, because when you exploit oil and discover wells you are bound to displace populations that are there."

    Source
    Last edited by Links30; 05-19-2007 at 01:45 PM.

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    Sudan accused on Darfur killings



    Sudanese security forces took part in the killing of some 100 people in the war-torn Darfur region, the UN says.

    UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour says Border Intelligence Guards took part in eight raids this year during clashes between Arab groups.

    "Attackers fired indiscriminately from the outskirts of the settlements with heavy machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades," her latest report said.

    Sudan has always denied reports that it has armed Arab militias in Darfur.

    At least 200,000 people have died and 2m have been made homeless during the four-year conflict.

    Black African rebels took up arms in 2003, saying they were being marginalised by the Arab-dominated government.


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    China anger at Darfur Olympic link
    The Border Intelligence Guards, often recruited from the local population, are "known to be under the control of Military Intelligence", said the UN report.




    The unit has previously been accused of working with the Janjaweed militia, responsible for widespread atrocities in Darfur, such as mass killings, rape and looting.

    Between January and March this year, it sided with the Rizeigat Abbala group against its rivals, the Tarjum, in a land dispute, the report said.

    The UN says there is no evidence that Sudan's government ordered the attacks but it says neither did Khartoum make any real effort to protect its civilians from the violence or to investigate those responsible.

    Sudanese military identity cards were later found at the scene.

    Ms Arbour has called for an independent investigation into the killings.

    But the BBC's Imogen Foulkes says this is something she has asked for many times before in relation to the violence in Darfur and so far Khartoum has been unwilling to cooperate with independent human rights experts.
    Last edited by Links30; 05-19-2007 at 02:00 PM.

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    UN says 110 000 displaced in Darfur in early 2007

    KHARTOUM - More than 110 000 people were displaced in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur in the first three months of this year as armed confrontations pitting rebels against government forces and their allies continued, a UN report said.

    Those confrontations included a renewal of air attacks, militia attacks on civilians, increasingly violent inter-tribal fighting and frequent road banditry, the report said.



    The fragmentation of Darfur rebel groups had also led to increased insecurity, as it was hard to know who was in command where. Difficulties obtaining guarantees of safe passage were complicating humanitarian access.

    “The first three months of 2007 confirmed the trend of widespread insecurity that intensified after the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement on 5 May 2006,” said the UN report on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, seen by Reuters on Friday.

    “Between January and March 2007, over 110 000 people have been newly displaced throughout Darfur, some 80 000 in South Darfur alone,” it said. Numbers had also dropped in some areas.

    The report put the total number of internally displaced people within Darfur at 2,1 million, a new high, and said some of those forced to flee recently had been displaced for the second or third time. More than 200 000 Darfur refugees are also sitting in camps in neighbouring Chad.

    The UN says more than 200 000 people have been killed in Darfur since ethnic and political conflict there flared in 2003. Sudan puts the number of dead at roughly 9 000.

    Khartoum accepted a UN support package of 3 000 military personnel to help 7 000 AU peacekeepers who have been unable to quell the violence. The UN and the AU want to complete that with a “hybrid” force that would include more than 20 000 troops. Khartoum has not agreed.

    Some 21 humanitarian vehicles were hijacked in the first three months of the year while five attempts were thwarted, and Sudanese and Chadian rebels often hijacked the vehicles in order to use them in combat, the report said.

    Another 15 convoys were ambushed or looted in the same period, and gunmen broke into six humanitarian compounds.

    The number of relief workers in Darfur declined by 16% to 12 300 in the 12 months to April due to security concerns, restrictions on access and funding limits, the report said.

    The decline in humanitarian access was harming programmes such as health care, although major epidemics had so far been averted.

    “However, these achievements cannot be safeguarded much longer in the face of the non-stop insecurity and violence against the civilian population and aid workers,” the report said. It put the total number of people affected by the conflict in Darfur at 4,2 million.

    The UN also said that it had conveyed “grave concern” to the Sudanese government about media attacks on its spokeswoman in Khartoum, Radhia Achouri.

    The UN mission in Sudan “strongly objects to the personalised and malicious nature of these attacks, which have included veiled threats against her”, a statement said.

    Source

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