U.S.: U.N. forces are needed to stop Sudan 'genocide'
U.S. envoy Jendayi Frazer said a U.N. force is necessary to stop Sudan from committing "genocide."
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A U.N. force is critical to prevent a "planned offensive" on Darfur by the Sudanese government, the U.S. State Department's top diplomat on Africa said Friday while accusing Sudan of committing genocide.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer made the remarks before a trip to the central African nation. There she plans to press the government on allowing U.N. troops into the war-ravaged region, a move Khartoum opposes.
"I'm fully confident there will be a transition to a U.N. force," Frazer said. Without it, she said, the international community would have no capability to "stop this government from carrying out what has been the genocide."
However, atrocities are not confined to government forces, she said. Frazer accused rebel troops of burning villages and killing civilians.
"All forces in Darfur are potentially and probably involved in atrocities," she said.
Violence erupted three years ago in Darfur, when ethnic African rebels took up arms over what they saw as neglect by the Arab-dominated central government.
The Sudanese government is accused of responding by unleashing Arab militias called Janjaweed, which have systematically raped women and pillaged entire villages in a campaign the United States and other nations has branded genocide.
Violence has increased in the Darfur region of Sudan despite a May 5 peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the largest of three rebel groups -- the Sudan Liberation Army.
President Bush has instructed Frazer to carry a message to Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir, explaining that the U.S. is willing to "go the last mile" to overcome Khartoum's reluctance to a U.N. presence.
In a media briefing Thursday, Frazer denied Khartoum's contention that the U.N. peacekeepers would make up "an occupation force."
"The people of Darfur don't have confidence in the ability of the government to protect them, so you need and impartial, credible multilateral U.N. force with the sole purpose of helping to implement the [Darfur Peace Agreement] and providing an environment of security," she said.
Atrocities have included the abuse of children, sexual violence against women and attacks on humanitarian workers, according to the United Nations.
Nine humanitarian workers have been killed in the past month, more than 200 women have been raped at a Darfur refugee camp in the past five weeks, and on Saturday two soldiers with the African Union's mission were killed by an unidentified group of men.
The financially strapped African Union force of 7,000 troops has been unable to quell the violence in Darfur.
Khartoum has resisted international pressure to send in a robust, well-equipped U.N. force that would be in place until the other two rebel groups signed the peace agreement.
The United States and Britain have introduced a draft resolution to the Security Council, recommending 17,000 soldiers and 3,000 police be sent to Darfur when the African Union's mandate expires in September.
The Security Council said Thursday it will meet Monday to discuss Darfur. El-Bashir has called for the session be postponed, according to the United Nations. Khartoum also has refused an invitation to send an envoy to the United Nations to discuss U.N. intervention.
Frazer said she hopes the council will muster enough political will to pass the resolution by the end of the month. She said it would be possible to "re-hat" about 5,200 of the African Union forces under a U.N. command before October 1.
El-Bashir has offered to send 10,000 of his own troops to stem the violence, an action Frazer labeled an "offensive."
"We've done that before," she said. "It led to 2 million people displaced, 200,000 people killed."
"The government of Sudan should see that this is a failed strategy," she said.
CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.
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