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UN Envoy to Meet Top Arab League Official on Dafur

Sudan: UN Envoy to Meet Top Arab League Official on Darfur Crisis

New York, Jun 2 2005 7:00PM

The United Nations top envoy in Sudan left the capital, Khartoum, today for the crisis-torn western Darfur region, where he is expected to meet Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and other high-level League representatives, a UN spokesman said today.

At the daily news briefing at UN Headquarters, Stephane Dujarric said the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan Jan Pronk, was expected to return to Khartoum to meet U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick tomorrow during his visit to Sudan.

Mr. Pronk was also scheduled to attend an ethnic reconciliation meeting at which Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Taha was expected, he said.

The crisis has pitted armed Arab Janjaweed militia members against two armed groups of Darfur rebels and unarmed civilians.

In other news, Secretary-General Kofia Annan spoke to journalists after briefing the Security Council today. He was asked whether the UN should follow the lead of the Bush Administration by labelling the Darfur killings “genocide,” and take action under the Genocide Convention, instead of waiting on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to act.

“First of all, the Security Council sent a mission to Darfur to determine the nature of the crimes and they submitted a report to the Council, which the Council has accepted and acted on. And it is that report that has led the Council to refer the case to the ICC and that is the policy of the UN,” Mr. Annan said.

He reminded the journalists that he went to a donors’ meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and raised nearly $300 million to help expand the African Union’s (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur to 8,000 from 2,000 troops and, thus, help internally displaced people (IDPs) return to their homes.

In an area where 60,000 IDPs had fled, some 30,000 had returned since the AU troops were deployed, he said.

After his visit to South Darfur’s Kalma camp, a former IDP spoke of the need “to create a secure environment so that people can go back to their villages and pick up their lives,” Mr. Annan said.

ENDS

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