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Pressure On Sudan Until The Commitments Are Met


UN Will Maintain Pressure On Sudan Until The Commitments Are Met – Annan

The United Nations will keep up the pressure on the Sudanese Government until its meets its commitments to disarm the militias responsible for deadly attacks in the troubled Darfur region and to restore security so that the estimated 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) feel it is safe to return home, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

While there has been progress on humanitarian access to remote Darfur, Khartoum has “much more” to do on improving security for the IDPs who have gathered in over 100 makeshift camps across the region, Mr. Annan told reporters after briefing the Security Council on his recent trip to Africa.

The Secretary-General stressed that last week’s Council resolution requires the Sudanese authorities to do no more than meet the pledges it has already made. “They should be able to take steps to calm the situation, to stop the attacks, to protect the people, and continue the disarmament,” he said.

“And there should be no confusion or no excuses,” he warned.

The Council gave the Government 30 days to show it was taking action on the commitments or face potential sanctions. Mr. Annan said, “The Council made it clear that if they fail to perform there will be consequences, and I hope that, if they do fail to perform, all the Council Members will be ready to act.”

He also said the African Union AU) is expanding the size of the force it is sending to Darfur to monitor the crisis. This, he said, is having “a positive impact” on dissuading the Janjaweed militias and others from further attacks on civilians.

Responding to questions, he said a large public protest in Khartoum today against the UN was not unexpected. “Sometimes governments use demonstrations to put pressure on the UN and to send a message to the international community.”

At the same time, he cautioned that the Sudanese Government “also has to be aware that it has the responsibility for the protection of the UN staff and the UN facilities.”

Earlier, Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, told UN Radio that while today’s demonstration in Khartoum was not violent, it was “not making life easy” for UN staff in Sudan. He said security in the IDP camps had generally improved, apart from a few incidents, but conditions are more dangerous outside the camps.

Mr. Pronk, who held talks this week with senior Sudanese officials, said he had asked them to address this problem so that people feel safe when they go to fetch water and firewood.

The envoy said the political focus was now on reviving peace talks between the Sudanese Government and two Darfur rebel groups, expected to resume later this month.

Now that Sudan has lifted previous obstacles to access for aid workers and relief supplies, the international community must make available more funding, staff and supplies to stave off a humanitarian disaster, he said.

Aside from the large number of IDPs, about 200,000 people now live as refugees in neighbouring Chad because of the Janjaweed attacks and the fighting between the rebels and Government forces.

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