Friday, September 01, 2006

Sudan says no to UN troops in Darfur.

Africa: Another useless resolution passes in the UN.

The Sudanese government and the UN security council were at loggerheads yesterday after Khartoum rejected a plan to send thousands of peacekeepers to try to halt three years of killings in Darfur.

A UN resolution passed yesterday called on the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, to permit up to 22,500 UN troops and police officers to take over from overstretched African Union soldiers by the end of the year. The 7,000-strong AU force, which has only enough money to exist until its mandate runs out at the end of next month, has failed to halt violence that has claimed at least 200,000 lives and displaced 2 million people, despite the signing of a peace deal last April. But Majzoub al-Khalifa, a presidential adviser responsible for Darfur, told al Jazeera the resolution was "illegal". Another adviser, Ali Tamim Fartak, said: "Our stand is very clear, that the Sudanese government has not been consulted and it is not appropriate to pass a resolution before they seek the permission of Sudan." Khartoum has refused to discuss the issue with the security council, accusing it of trying to manufacture a western invasion of Sudan. Twelve council members, including Britain and the US, voted in favour. Russia and China, which have strong economic ties to Sudan, along with Qatar, abstained, arguing that Khartoum's agreement should be obtained first. But backers of the resolution said they hoped it would pressure Mr Bashir into changing his mind. "In political terms it says we want consent, but we're not going to wait until they say 'fine, we're ready' before the security council takes action," one diplomat told the Guardian. But he said the resolution was passed more with a sense of hope than of confidence that Khartoum would be swayed.

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