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Security Council endorses resolution on Sudan

Plan aims to end conflicts in south, Darfur region

From Jonathan Wald
CNN

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed a resolution Friday to approve a peace process in Sudan that aims to end Africa's longest-running civil war.

In addition to addressing the monitoring of that agreement, which deals with the conflict in southern Sudan, the resolution also takes note of the problems in the western region of Darfur.

It initiates "the process of getting a peace-monitoring mission up and running in Sudan and ... recognize[s] the conflict in Darfur as part of a larger solution aimed at achieving peace and security in Sudan," the U.S. deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Stuart Holliday, told CNN.

Wolfgang Trautwein, the German deputy ambassador to the United Nations, told the Security Council he welcomed the resolution but cautioned that "a lasting peaceful settlement for Sudan will only be possible when the conflicts in Darfur and elsewhere in the country have been resolved."

The United Nations must outline the budget and size of the peace-monitoring mission; a resolution to accomplish that will be circulated in about four to six weeks, Holliday said.

More than 2 million people have died in 21 years of fighting between the Islamist government in the north of the country, and Christians and animists in the south.

Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha told reporters Thursday that all the major issues were resolved and a final peace agreement will be signed in Nairobi, Kenya, in about four weeks, once technical details are finalized.

Reference to the conflict in the western region of Darfur has proved the most contentious issue among Security Council members.

"About a third of the council thought the resolution should just concentrate on the peace process, while the remaining two-thirds thought it should cover the peace process and the situation in Darfur," said Sir Emyr Jones Parry, British ambassador to the United Nations.

Pakistan, China and Algeria -- the Arab member on the Security Council -- are the countries with ties to Sudan "who did not want Darfur discussed at all," a Security Council source told CNN.

"The government in Khartoum has lobbied hard for these countries not to support this resolution," the source said. "The Sudanese do not want conflict in their country to be a U.N. issue -- they associate the U.N. with the U.S. and are they are deeply suspicious of the U.S."

Abdallah Baali, the Algerian ambassador to the United Nations, conceded there was "disagreement about whether or not we should address the situation concerning Darfur, but we got a letter from the secretary-general last week saying we cannot ignore the western part, and so we reached an agreement to include it."

In a report sent to Security Council members June 3, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan wrote, "the catastrophic situation in Darfur is a problem that will make a Sudanese peace agreement much harder to implement. To conduct a consent-based monitoring and verification operation in one part of the country while there is ongoing conflict in another part would prove politically unsustainable."

The conflict in Darfur began last year when black Sudanese rebels attacked government property, accusing the government of neglecting Darfur in favor of the Arab population in Sudan. The government responded by setting up Arab militia, known as the Janjaweed, to put down the rebellion. The warring factions recently agreed to a cease-fire.

The Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, Munir Akram, bemoaned the lack of financial support for Sudan's problems.

"There's a lot of talk but when it comes down to money our rich friends haven't done very much," Akram said.

The European Union agreed to donate 12 million euros (US $14.5 million) Thursday evening to "support the rapid deployment and operations of an African Union-led observer mission that will monitor the implementation of the recent cease-fire agreement in Darfur."

E.U. development commissioner Poul Nielson said in a written statement that the money shows the European Union is "a credible partner" for the African Union in its efforts to establish peace.

The United Nations has described the Darfur conflict as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. In a commencement address Thursday at Harvard University, Annan said, "thousands of villages have been burnt and more than a million people forced from their homes. In all about 1.3 million need immediate assistance."

"The international community must insist that the Sudanese authorities immediately put their own house in order," he said. "They must neutralize and disarm the brutal 'Janjaweed' militia, allow humanitarian supplies and equipment to reach the population without further delays, ensure that the displaced people can return home in safety and pursue the political negotiations on Darfur with a renewed sense of urgency."

The Group of Eight leaders released a statement Thursday calling on U.N. officials to prevent further ethnic violence in western Sudan.

The statement praised the peace agreement but expressed concern about "continuing reports of gross violations of human rights" in Darfur.

"We call on all parties to the conflicts in Sudan to commit themselves to respecting the right of all Sudanese to live in peace and dignity," the statement said. "We look to the United Nations to lead the international effort to avert a major disaster and will work together to achieve this end."


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