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Security Council To Discuss Darfur Crisis

Security Council To Hold Talks Tomorrow On Darfur Crisis In Sudan

The Security Council will hold consultations tomorrow afternoon on the humanitarian and security crises engulfing the Darfur region in Sudan as talks continue in Abuja, Nigeria, in a bid to resolve the political dispute driving the conflict.

The consultations, announced today by UN spokesman Fred Eckhard, will take place a week after Council members received a report from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the latest situation in Darfur and were also briefed on the issue by Mr. Annan's Special Representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk.

Yesterday Mr. Annan told reporters that "more can and should be done" to improve security in Darfur, where at least 1.2 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 live as refugees in neighbouring Chad, largely because of attacks by armed militias allied to Khartoum.

In his report he proposed expanding the size of the force of African Union (AU) monitors in Darfur, an impoverished region the size of France that has been beset by conflict since two rebel groups took up arms against Khartoum early last year.

In Nigeria, AU mediators are meeting separately with representatives of the Sudanese Government and two rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - to discuss a draft protocol on security. If the parties can accept the draft, then the mediators plan to meet with them together to sign off on the protocol.

The talks in Abuja, which are being attended by UN officials, cover four issues: humanitarian, security, political, and social and economic matters.

In other humanitarian developments:

  • The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a measles vaccination campaign for 150,000 children not reached by a previous scheme in June.
  • Preliminary figures released by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) show that Darfur accounts for 40 per cent of all Sudanese cases of fistula - a devastating condition resulting when obstructed labour causes tears in the area between the vagina and rectum of a pregnant mother.
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