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Sudan: World Responsible For Ending Violence

World Is Responsible For Ending ‘Terrible Violence’ In Sudan, Annan Says

The “terrible violence” being waged against the people of Sudan’s troubled Darfur region means the crisis there is a global issue, and “not simply an African problem,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the Security Council today.

In remarks at the outset of a Council meeting to hear a briefing by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on the situation in Africa, in particular Darfur, where more than 1.65 million people have had to flee their homes in the past year and a half because of the violence, Mr. Annan said civilians are still facing attacks every day.

“The humanitarian emergency in Darfur is growing, and much, much more needs to be done to mitigate it,” he said, adding that the world must back an expansion of the existing African Union (AU) mission of monitoring forces to help make the civilians safer.

“But this will require substantial international resources – logistics support, equipment and financing. Every country that can help must help, and thereby give content and meaning to our words of concern.”

Mr. Annan also stressed the importance of resuming the AU-organized negotiations between Khartoum and the two Darfur rebel groups for a political settlement.

About 1.45 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 are refugees in neighbouring Chad after leaving their home villages because of violent attacks by Janjaweed militias.

The Janjaweed, who began their attacks after rebel groups began fighting with Sudanese Government forces, are accused of killing and raping thousands of civilians, and destroying homes, wells and cropland.

In a resolution adopted last Saturday, the Council said it might impose sanctions on Khartoum if it does not protect civilians from further Janjaweed attacks and agreed to an expanded AU force. It has also called for a UN commission of inquiry to determine whether genocide has taken place.

Mr. Obasanjo, who is also the current Chairman of the African Union, told the Council today that an expanded AU presence in Darfur of about 3,000 troops would be welcome but could only happen if there is sustained financial support.

“We should avoid a situation where Africa Union troops on the ground are handicapped as a result of lack of requisite financial resources and logistics support,” he said.

Mr. Obasanjo said the AU was resolute in its commitment to bring peace and security to Darfur, and was ready to play its part to revive the stalled peace talks.

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