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29 July 2004

U.N. Security Council Schedules Vote on Darfur

U.S. draft resolution calls for further diplomatic action

By Judy Aita
Washington File United Nations Correspondent

United Nations -- The Security Council has scheduled a vote for July 30 on a resolution that threatens actions against Sudan if the government does not move to protect the people of Darfur within the next 30 days, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said July 29.

The U.S.-drafted resolution includes compromises on the language dealing with sanctions in hopes of getting unanimous approval by the council, said Danforth, the chief U.S. envoy to the United Nations.

"We've had several days of very useful discussions about language. The key to the resolution is what I call a clock. There will be a period of 30 days for the Government of Sudan to demonstrate that it is complying with its own commitments with respect to the security of the people of Darfur. If they are not in compliance, then it will be the job of the Security Council to decide what to do next," the ambassador told journalists outside the Security Council's meeting rooms.

"The wording in the initial drafts included the word 'sanctions,'" Danforth said. "It turns out the use of that word is objectionable to certain members of the Security Council. They would rather use what I would call 'U.N.-speak' for exactly the same thing."

"So the draft ... which will be voted on tomorrow instead says that 'in 30 days the Security Council expresses its intention to consider further actions including measures as provided for in Article 41 of the Charter of the United Nations on the Government of Sudan,'" he explained.

Article 41 speaks of measures that "may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication and the severance of diplomatic relations."

"This is a sanctions provision, it has the potential of sanctions in 30 days. ... The possible measures that will be before the Security Council in a month's time will include sanctions," Danforth said.

Danforth said that the resolution also provides for monthly reviews of Khartoum's compliance to determine if sanctions should be imposed.

"The point is that the tragedy of Darfur is not going to be permitted to fall off the table as far as international attention is concerned," he said. "This is going to continue to be a matter that will be before the Security Council and before the world."

The ambassador stressed that he was not assuming that the Government of Sudan will not honor its obligations under the communiqué signed with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on July 3.

"What we're hoping for is compliance," Danforth said. "The key always has been to protect the desperate people of Darfur who are dying daily and to protect them now and to make sure the Government of Sudan is facing up to its responsibilities for those people. That's the key ... to make sure the Government of Sudan is going to fulfill its obligation and do that in a way that is going to be applicable today, a month from now, two months from now, three months from now and as far as the problem lasts."

"The U.S. doesn't want to impose sanctions on the government of Sudan," Danforth said. "The position of the United States is that we hope that Sudan will be a prosperous country taking its place in the world community as a respected member of the world community. But we have a problem, and the problem has to be solved, and the problem has to be solved by the Government of Sudan."

"The people of Darfur cannot be victimized anymore," he said. "The Government of Sudan has responsibility for them. The Government of Sudan must fulfill that responsibility for the people of Darfur. If it does not, then there will be consequences."

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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