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Rebels reject Darfur deal, Sudan breaks apart

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  • #46
    KHARTOUM, July 22 (Reuters) - At least 15 people have been killed in sectarian fighting in south Sudan which is likely to escalate, military sources said on Saturday, describing a threat to a hard-won peace deal that ended Africa's longest civil war.

    The sources differed in their accounts, but two versions pointed to violence against north Sudanese by southerners in the last few days, in response to an attack on a militia allied to south Sudan's army.

    The Khartoum government and the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace deal last year, ending more than two decades of north-south civil war which claimed 2 million lives.

    Both sides used proxy militias, which under last year's deal were to have joined either the north's Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) or the south's Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

    "There was an incident in Rubkona. It involved one soldier from the SAF who shot one officer and civilians. The officer belonged to the South Sudan Defence Force (SSDF). They have joined the SPLA," Major General Elias Waya of the SPLA said.

    "There was a retaliation from the civilians which resulted in 23 killed ... They were northern traders. I don't know what motivated the incident. Now the situation is under control but I think there will be a retaliation from the north," he added.

    Rubkona is in south Sudan's Unity state, which contains some of the country's largest oil fields. Disputes over whether oil-rich regions nearby lie in north or south Sudan have raised tension and left some areas without state services or aid.

    Analysts say the dispute threatens to derail last year's peace deal and could trigger renewed violence.

    An SAF spokesman denied a government soldier began the incident, and instead said it started with a fight between two factions of the SPLA. Two SAF soldiers had been killed trying to end the violence, in which 13 civilians died, he said.

    In another account, Major General Samule Machar, a former SSDF commander, said 28 people were killed, including 18 civilians, after an SAF soldier attacked one of his soldiers, triggering a clash between his forces and the SAF.

    Fighting in south Sudan kills at least 15

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    • #47
      A Germany aid agency said on Friday it has evacuated eight of its workers out of the southern Sudan and brought them to capital Khartoum as a temporary measure as tribal fighting flares up in the vast region.

      In a statement issued in Nairobi, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe ( German Agro Action) said its staff member and seven Sudanese are now in safety, while twelve others have not yet been able to leave.

      "The clashes began as a local dispute on Monday. They then escalated and spread," said Johan van der Kamp, Welthungerhilfe's regional coordinator in Sudan.

      "As many as 28 deaths have since been recorded, 17 are civilians," van der Kamp added.

      For the first time since the landmark peace agreement was signed in Nairobi last year, fierce fighting has flared up again between the Sudanese army and the former rebel movement SPLA ( Sudan People's Liberation Army) and their militias in Rubkona in Unity State province.

      "There are at least five uneasy years to go before the referendum," explains van der Kamp.

      "In the areas under dispute a buffer zone needs to be created between the armies, and the military should leave the civilian areas," he said.

      He said the army still constantly presented in the streets of towns like Rubkona, so lots of civilians are at risk whenever violence flares up.

      Van der Kamp said it was "sad" that the UN Mission in Sudan ( UNMIS) was unable to prevent these incidents from getting out of control.

      Deutsche Welthungerhilfe has been active in Sudan since 1998, working in the provinces of North-Darfur, West Kordofan and Unity State and project priorities include agriculture, food security and drinking-water supply.

      Germany aid agency evacuates staff out of southern Sudan

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      • #48
        KHARTOUM: Four aid workers and four civilians were killed, several others injured and humanitarian convoys ambushed in a string of incidents this week in Sudan's troubled western region of Darfur, the United Nations said Sunday.

        The UN mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said the incidents forced agencies to withdraw from some camps for the displaced.

        Three staffers of an international non-governmental organisation (INGO) were attacked and killed in Hassa Hissa camp in Zalingei, West Darfur, on Thursday, it said.

        The report did not identify the NGO nor the nationalities of the victims, but it suggested they were Sudanese as one of them was from the Zaghawa tribe.

        Six members of the NGO visited Hassa Hissa and met with internally displaced persons "to address serious allegations that they were trying to poison them (the displaced) inside the camp", it said.

        "Fighting broke out at the meeting and three INGO staff were trapped in the camp and were beaten and kicked, resulting in their deaths."

        The UN report said that three civilians were killed and 17 others injured in an attack by armed men Wednesday on a commercial vehicle heading to Al-Fasher.

        Also on Wednesday, 15 armed men attacked a convoy of three buses transporting passengers from Nyala to Al-Fasher, killing one person and wounding 14 others.

        The UNMIS report said unidentified armed men the same day shot and killed an NGO driver driving a commercial vehicle in South Darfur.

        An INGO convoy between Golo and Guildo in Jebel Marra area was ambushed by 11 armed men, it said. Personal belongings, including Thuraya satellite phones, were looted and the INGO team beaten up but without causing serious injury.

        NGO staffers killed, convoys ambushed in Darfur

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        • #49
          KHARTOUM • President Omar Al Bashir warned yesterday that Darfur would become a “graveyard” for United Nations forces if they were deployed in the west Sudan region, the official Suna news agency said.

          “We shall never hand Darfur over to international forces which will never enjoy being in the region that will become their graveyard,” Bashir was quoted as telling a rally at Zeribah in North Kordofan, central Sudan.

          “If they really want to protect the people of Darfur, what are they doing about the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and Palestine and the killing of women, children and innocents there?”

          Bashir warned advocates within the country of the proposed deployment of UN forces in Darfur that they would not be spared by those forces.

          “When they enter Darfur, those forces will not differentiate between the president and those leaders who call for this (the deployment),” he said without elaborating.

          Bashir cited Iraq, where despite the presence of foreign forces there is “destruction, damage and sedition between the Sunnis and Shiites instigated by Western intelligence, in addition to the torture and killing of inmates in Abu Ghraib and other prisons.”

          Decades of ethnic tensions in Darfur erupted in 2003 when ethnic minorities took up arms against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum to fight for autonomy and a greater share of the region’s resources.

          The government responded by unleashing its feared and mainly Arab proxy Janjaweed militia in a scorched-earth policy against minority villages suspected of supporting the rebels. Some 300,000 people — overwhelmingly civilians — have been killed and 2.4m more have fled their homes.

          A Darfur rebel group that refused to sign a peace deal for western Sudan in May accused the government yesterday of unleashing the Janjaweed in a bid to eradicate rebel holdouts.

          “The Khartoum regime has begun implementing a military project that aims at an all-out assault on the parties which did not sign the farcical Abuja ‘agreement’,” Justice and Equality Movement spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam said.

          Bashir warns Darfur would be a ‘UN graveyard’

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          • #50
            KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Darfur rebels who signed a peace deal with the government killed and raped civilians to try to force them to support the unpopular accord, human rights group Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

            The African Union-brokered deal was signed in May by only one of three rebel factions - the Minni Arcua Minnawi group. Tens of thousands of Darfuris have protested against the deal, saying it does not meet their demands.

            "Some 72 people were killed, 103 injured and 39 women raped in targeted attacks against civilians in the Korma region," said Amnesty in a statement.

            The attacks were at the beginning of July in Korma, about 70 km (45 miles) north west of el-Fasher, Darfur's main town. Around 8,000 people fled their homes, emptying Korma.

            "The attackers were members of the Minni Minnawi faction of the armed political group the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), reportedly supported by the Sudan armed forces and the Janjaweed," London-based Amnesty said.

            Since signing the deal, Minnawi's troops have repeatedly been accused of imprisoning and torturing Darfuris who oppose it. Minnawi denies the reports.

            But a U.N. helicopter in June airlifted elderly SLA official Suleiman Adam Jamous out of Minnawi's stronghold in Darfur where he had been imprisoned for weeks. Jamous had opposed Minnawi's leadership and the deal.

            Amnesty further said a 7,000-strong AU force had not protected civilians and had not investigated the violence.

            Some other rebel groups accuse the AU of losing its neutrality by housing Minnawi in their headquarters in el- Fasher, flying him in AU helicopters on demand around Darfur and allowing his troops to drive AU vehicles in el-Fasher town.

            Amnesty said civilians had reported the attacks to the AU force on July 5, but the SLA had opposed the AU going to Korma. Only an AU outpost in nearby Tawila had gone to Korma but it had not issued its findings.

            SLA officials were not immediately reachable and an AU spokesman was unable to immediately comment on the report.

            Tens of thousands have been killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes during more than three years of conflict in Darfur.

            Darfur rebels kill, rape to enforce deal - Amnesty International

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            • #51
              A peace deal signed three months ago between Sudan's government and the main rebel group in Darfur has failed to halt violence in the region, the United Nations says.

              The global body cites an increase in rape and continued attacks by militias and rebel factions.

              The UN said on Wednesday that the May 5 peace deal, signed in Nigeria, was "doomed to failure" without more support from the Sudanese government, "with the population of Darfur continuing to suffer grave violations of human rights as violence among competing armed groups in Darfur persists."

              The 20-page report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights acknowledged that fighting between Sudanese armed forces and the Sudan Liberation Army, the main rebel group, has decreased since the deal.

              But "attacks by militias and rebel factions continued unabated, mainly in south and north Darfur", it said.

              "Civilian populations continued to be targeted by militia and the government and rebel movements are in breach of the new ceasefire," the report said.

              After the signing of the peace agreement, "violence resulted in numerous civilian deaths and aggravated the already severe humanitarian situation in Darfur."

              The deal was supposed to help end the conflict, but instead has sparked months of fighting between rival rebel factions.

              Aid groups, the UN and beleaguered African Union peacekeepers say rebel factions are seeking to gain advantage before peace upsets a status quo in a region where more than 200,000 people have been killed since 2003, when ethnic African tribes revolted against the Arab-led Khartoum government.

              Fresh clashes have left countless dead in the last two months.

              The conflict has caused more than two million to flee their homes, and one million people relying on food aid because their fields were razed or they are too afraid to go out to farm.

              The UN report said armed militias continued to attack villages, and on at least one occasion were supported by government forces.

              Clashes between militias and the SLA, and between rebel factions, were also cited.

              "These attacks also resulted in the torture and killing of civilians and sexual abuse, including rape, as well as in further displacement of the population," the UN said, and noted an increase in rape and attempted rape cases.

              Violence also affected humanitarian efforts.

              The UN said there were at least 250,000 people who needed aid at the end of June but who could not be reached by organisations because of the insecurity.

              Last month, the deadliest month for aid workers since the conflict began, eight Sudanese humanitarian workers were killed in road ambushes when they were working at water pumps, or, in one case, during a night-time village attack.

              Aid groups gave warning on Tuesday that conditions for millions of civilians could get much worse quickly if security did not improve in the area.

              They said spiralling violence was causing a rise in malnutrition and the spread of disease in some camps for displaced persons.

              The UN also said security in Darfur had worsened over the last month, estimating that 25,000 people were newly displaced.

              The report called on Sudan's government and all parties of the peace deal to immediately comply with its cease-fire provisions.

              "The government should disarm the militia and protect the physical security of all Darfurians by putting in place a credible, capable, and professional police force and judiciary," the report said.

              It added that Khartoum needed to do more to investigate reports of sexual violence and bring those responsible to justice - "whether the crime is perpetrated by government agents, armed groups or private individuals."

              The UN called on the international community to support the African Union's peacekeeping force in Sudan until a UN operation could be deployed to Darfur.

              UN: Darfur peace deal has failed

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              • #52
                A growing dispute between several Darfuri factions critical of a months-old peace deal and a leading rebel leader is threatening to explode into a new level of violence and prevent the repatriation of refugees to the impoverished western region of Sudan.

                Sitting under the roof of his squat reed hut in Chad's Treguine refugee camp, local leader Ishaq Haron said his people are tired of life in the camps and are ready to return to their homes in Darfur.

                "Everyone wants to return," he said. "Even children ask their parents about going back to their homes in Darfur. Right now though, return is impossible."

                Haron told Aljazeera.net that he hasn't seen his home since the Sudanese government bombed it over two years ago and he feels certain that if people go back, they will be killed.

                On May 5, Minni Arkou Minawi, the leader of the strongest faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (the DPA) with the government to end fighting that has killed an estimated 400,000 Darfuris and displaced over 2 million.

                Although the United Nations, the African Union and the US praised Minawi for signing the agreement, most Darfuris are critical of his decision and say the DPA won't bring peace to Darfur.

                While refugees support the rebels for protecting them from Sudan's government, they say more should be done to improve the lives of regular Darfuris.

                "The [rebel] movements must speak about the refugees and displaced in Darfur," Haron said, adding that many feel that Minawi has signed an empty agreement.

                The anger of the Darfuri refugees is translating into swelling support for rebel factions that did not - to the annoyance of the UN and Sudan- sign the DPA.

                The leading anti-treaty rebels include an SLA faction led by the rebel group's original leader, Abdel Wahid Mohammed Al-Nur, and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Khalil Ibrahim.

                These groups have demanded that Darfuris are given a greater role in the Khartoum government and ensured a more equitable distribution of Sudan's wealth.

                They have also called for the development of basic services such as roads, health care, and schools in Darfur.

                The dispute is turning increasingly violent, pitting Minawi's SLA faction against the National Redemption Front (NRF), a new coalition made from JEM, the Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance (SFDA), and smaller breakaway SLA factions.

                In recent weeks, Minawi's faction has lost control of significant amounts of territory in what has been their stronghold in northern Darfur.

                Most Darfuris outside of Minawi's Zaghawa ethnic group - and many within it - support the dissenting factions for refusing to sign the agreement. They are angry that Minawi signed the deal and say that he no longer represents them.

                "Minawi is a military commander, not a politician," said Adam Ibrahim al-Mustafa, school director in the Treguine refugee camp. "All he wants is to keep control. If the world decides to back this agreement, it will be an absolute failure."

                The DPA requires the Sudanese government to integrate 4,000 former rebels into the military, and grant the positions of Senior Assistant to the President and the Chairperson of the newly established Transitional Darfur Regional Authority to former rebels.

                But most refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) in Darfur say that they want more concrete benefits for ordinary people.

                "We demand individual reparations for what they stole from us and destroyed during the war," said Bokhit Dabo, a former mayor in Darfur and a refugee leader in Chad’s Ouri Cassoni camp.

                Under the terms of the DPA, the Sudanese government has agreed to establish a Compensation Commission with a fund of $30 million to repay war victims.

                But dissenting rebel groups and Darfuri civilians say that the sum won’t even come close to reimbursing them.

                "We demand individual compensation, not one lump payment," said Haron, adding that agriculturalists and pastoralists won't be able to restart their lives in Darfur unless they are repaid for the livestock taken by the Janjaweed.

                Dabo told Aljazeera.net that a key demand - also echoed by Minawi and his supporters - is for the Janjaweed to be disarmed.

                The DPA failed to specify how the Janjaweed will be disarmed and according to an International Crisis Group report, the Sudanese government made - and broke - promises to disarm the Janjaweed five times since the conflict began.

                The dissenting rebel groups and refugees are also seeking to have leaders of the Darfur conflict arrested and tried in international courts.

                Dissenting rebel groups as well as Minawi's SLA faction say that they want to see an UN peacekeeping force deployed to protect them from the Sudanese military and Janjaweed. Refugees insist that they won't return to their villages until troops are on the ground.

                An African Union peacekeeping force already operates in Darfur but lacks the money, manpower and equipment to effectively police an area the size of France. And unlike the proposed UN force, the African Union lacks a mandate to use force to protect civilians.

                "The African Union was supposed to solve the Darfur crisis and they've now been there for about 12 months, but we haven’t seen any solutions for the refugees or internally displaced persons (IDP)," said Haron.

                "If [UN] forces don't intervene, the war will intensify more than what it was at first," said Dabo. "We will return and they will kill us and steal from us just like they did in the beginning."

                In July, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir refused to allow UN peacekeepers to enter Darfur. And without his permission UN forces say they cannot intervene.

                Many Darfuris say the international community is giving too much legitimacy to the Sudanese president.

                "The international community should be asking the rebel movements in Darfur if they want intervention, not the Sudanese government," said refugee in Chad's Djabal Refugee camp Ahmed Abdullah Mohammed.

                In response to the critics of the peace deal, Minawi's SLA rebels say they recognise that the peace deal does not satisfy all the demands of the refugees, but they argue that an incomplete peace is better than more war.

                "All there is in Darfur is killing," said SLA field commander Mustafa Al-Daud in North Darfur. "Our priority is to stop the killing and once there is peace we will push for our demands."

                Civilians and rebel factions agree that the killing must end immediately, but most doubt that this agreement will have any lasting effect.

                Sitting in a gathering of solemn-faced refugees discussing the DPA, Abdul Rahman Yaqub, the Imam of one of Treguine's white-tent mosques, said: "We don't need the signing of a piece of paper. We need justice."

                Displaced Darfuris reject peace deal

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                • #53
                  Sudan sentences Slovenia envoy

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                  • #54
                    Sudan's leaders should face UN sanctions for failing to allow international peacekeepers to protect citizens in Darfur, according to Human Rights Watch. In a letter sent to the UN security council, the New York-based group accused Sudan of breaking a promise to allow troops into Darfur after a partial peace deal in May. Instead a weak African Union peacekeeping mission was left to carry on.

                    The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said last month that a UN force should be deployed. It would relieve the African Union mission, which has little more than observer status.

                    Call for Khartoum leaders to face sanctions from UN

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                    • #55
                      UN food aid organization warns of food cuts for 6 million people in Darfur

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                      • #56
                        Sudan may be gearing up for major offensive in Darfur, UN peacekeeping official warns

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                        • #57
                          “Something very ugly is brewing in Darfur"

                          18 August 2006 – Warning that “something very ugly is brewing” in Darfur, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown today urged the international community to pay close attention to the crisis in the impoverished and strife-torn region of western Sudan.

                          “We are extraordinarily concerned,” Mr. Malloch Brown told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, calling attention to the worsening humanitarian and security situation in the remote region in recent months and “the absence of a clear political path to the deployment of a UN force.”

                          A draft resolution circulating among Security Council members outlines the size and scope of a possible UN peacekeeping operation, which would replace the current mission of the African Union (AU). But so far the Sudanese Government has said it is opposed to having blue helmets in Darfur.

                          In a closed-door briefing yesterday, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hédi Annabi told the Council that Khartoum is building up its armed forces in Darfur, an apparent sign that it is determined to pursue a major military offensive there soon.

                          The period since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in early May has been marked not only by fierce fighting, but also by an unprecedented number of attacks on humanitarian workers – in July alone there were 36 reported incidents that led to nine deaths.

                          Mr. Annabi said some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have indicated they may be forced to withdraw entirely from North Darfur, one of three states which comprise the region, because of the dangers to their staff members. Last week Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote to the Council to express his alarm about the situation, pointing out it has become much harder for those aid workers who remain to direct humanitarian assistance to those in need. As many as 1.6 million people are currently inaccessible, Mr. Annan said in his letter. Today, Mr. Malloch Brown urged the reporters to not forget about Darfur, despite the importance of other crises in the world.

                          He acknowledged that it is “hard to keep two stories in the air at once” but stressed that “it is very, very important that we all pay lots of attention to Darfur.” Scores of thousands of people have been killed and more than 2 million others have been displaced since conflict erupted in 2003 between rebels, Government forces and allied militia groups in Darfur, a region roughly the size of France.

                          Deteriorating situation in Darfur leaves UN ‘extraordinarily concerned’ – Annan’s deputy

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                          • #58
                            Two African Union soldiers have been killed and three injured in an ambush on a convoy in Sudan's Darfur region.

                            The attack which targeted a convoy carrying fuel in the Kuma area around 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Darfur's main town of el-Fasher was condemned by the African Union mission in Sudan.

                            An African Union statement said: "The African Union mission in Sudan [AMIS] condemns in the strongest possible terms this outrageous attack against its forces in Darfur and intends to carry [out] a thorough investigation."

                            The attack happened in an area that is under the control of rebels who did not sign the May peace deal, but the AU said it was not clear who the attackers were.

                            Only one of the three rebel factions involved in negotiations signed the AU-brokered peace deal in May. Tens of thousands of Darfuris have protested against the accord, saying they want more compensation for war victims, more political posts and a monitoring role in disarming Arab militia, known as Janjaweed.

                            This week the AU expelled non-signatory rebel representatives from its camps, saying it could no longer guarantee their safety because the government called them terrorists after some of the groups formed a new alliance which has attacked the government since the May deal.

                            The non-signatories said that in doing this the AU had terminated a shaky truce signed in April 2004 by all the parties to the conflict.

                            Tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and 2.5million forced from their homes since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003 accusing the central government of neglect.

                            Around 7,000 AU soldiers are struggling to stop the violence, which has been on the rise since May.

                            Two African Union soldiers killed in Darfur

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                            • #59
                              A UN draft resolution backed by the US and UK has met with resistance from the Sudanese government and the Arab League, who have both called for the UN security council to postpone a meeting planned for next week on Darfur.

                              Mohamed Ali al-Madhi, Sudan's justice minister, told reporters in Khartoum on Sunday: "The British draft resolution that will be presented to the UN security council is full of wicked and misleading elements.

                              "The draft resolution provides for deploying UN forces under chapter seven on grounds that the Sudan threatens the international peace and security without producing any argument supporting this allegation."

                              Al-Madhi went on to say that the draft grants the UN forces the power to use all forms of military force "thus literally making of them forces of occupation".

                              Omar al-Beshir, the Sudanese president, warned last week that his government would confront any UN-sponsored forces sent to Darfur.

                              After a one-day meeting in Cairo, Arab foreign ministers have called for a reinforcement of the African Union (AU) mission already on the ground in the western Sudanese region and an extension of the mandate.

                              The resolution passed by the Arab League council said: "[The council] asks the security council to give the Sudanese government more time to implement its plan to improve conditions and preserve security in Darfur, which it presented to the United Nations on August 2."

                              It said: "It calls for the postponement of the UN security council meeting which is due to take place next week in New York...to allow time for consultation and coordination between regional organisations on the role of AU forces in Darfur."

                              The AU has about 7,000 soldiers struggling to halt violence in Darfur but the trouble has worsened since the government and the main Sudan Liberation Movement signed a peace deal in May, with other factions refusing to sign.

                              Under the Sudanese plan, the Khartoum government would send 10,500 new government troops to Darfur.

                              The rights group Human Rights Watch says the plan would violate a peace deal and was just a way to avert the deployment of UN peacekeepers.

                              The US and its allies have argued that the AU forces do not have the manpower, resources or financial means to keep the peace there.

                              An estimated 300,000 people have died and 2.4million more have fled their homes since the ethnic minority rebels rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum in early 2003.

                              Sudan rejects UN resolution on Dafur

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                              • #60
                                Sudan's ruling party has rejected a draft UN resolution to deploy a 20,000-strong force to stem the violence in its western Darfur region, state media have reported.

                                Britain has drafted a Security Council resolution to send 17,000 soldiers and 3,000 police to the vast region, and said it hoped that the resolution would be adopted by the end of August.

                                But Khartoum has repeatedly rejected proposals for a UN mission in Darfur, which some government officials call an attempt to colonise the country, and did so again in response to the British plan.

                                Ghazi Salaheddin, head of the ruling National Congress Party's (NCP) parliamentary body, is quoted by the state-owned news agency Suna on Thursday, as saying that "any country that would adopt this resolution would be from a hostile position towards Sudan and thus it is rejected and non-negotiable".

                                Lam Akol, the foreign minister, said on Thursday of the draft resolution: "Our position hasn't changed."

                                Many opposition parties support UN deployment to Darfur and war victims, including many of the 2.5 million who fled to makeshift camps during the fighting, have asked for the world body to intervene since the conflict began in early 2003.

                                But the NCP, which dominates government and parliament, refuses.

                                Critics say they fear that UN troops would be used to arrest any officials likely to be indicted by the International Criminal Court investigating alleged war crimes in the region.

                                Khartoum gave a plan to the Security Council this month offering to send 10,500 government troops to secure Darfur.

                                But rights groups have balked at the idea as many of the war victims say the government is behind the violence.

                                Tens of thousands of people have been killed in three-and-a-half years of fighting in Darfur since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms accusing the central government of neglect and discrimination.

                                Washington calls the violence genocide, a charge Khartoum rejects.

                                About 7,000 African Union troops have failed to quell the violence in Darfur and are struggling to find cash even to pay the salaries of their soldiers.

                                While the AU has expressed support for a UN takeover, the NCP said the pan-African body did so under pressure from Western nations, which refuse to fund the AU mission.

                                Sudan rejects UN Darfur plan

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