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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
16 January 2006

SUDAN: UN envoy calls for stronger action on Darfur

NAIROBI, 16 Jan 2006 (IRIN) - A much bigger peacekeeping force and targeted sanctions are needed to end the ongoing violence in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, Jan Pronk, special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Sudan, told the Security Council.

At least once a month, groups of 500 to 1,000 militia attacked villages, killing dozens of people and terrorising others, he said. Only international security guarantees such as those provided by the African Union could help.

"The force necessary to provide such guarantees should be much bigger than the present one," he said on Friday. "It should not be on call, but in place, present wherever people may be attacked.

"It should be strong, able to defend itself, able to deter attacks on civilians and able to disarm militias and the Janjawid, who should have been disarmed by the [Sudanese] government in the first place," he added.

The perpetrators of the wide-scale attacks in 2003 and 2004 had achieved their goal. Many areas of Darfur had been "cleansed", and millions of villagers sitting in camps were too afraid to return home, as the terror continued, he noted.

Pronk urged that a stronger peacekeeping force be supplemented by sanctions on troop movements not in accordance with any peace agreement; arms deliveries; and those who had caused atrocities.

Sanctions should target "the commanders and political leaders responsible for the carnage of 2003 and 2004, and those who have refused to stop the atrocities of 2005", he said.

Salim Ahmed Salim, special envoy of the African Union for the Darfur peace talks, expressed his regret over the lack of progress at the negotiations in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

"The negotiations so far have been characterised by an unacceptable level of inflexibility in the positions of the parties, suspicion, absence of even the minimum level of confidence and deep distrust," he noted.

Pronk said that one could not ignore the impression that the parties had lost all sense of urgency and did not really care about deadlines.

The continuation of violence, killings, rapes and human rights violations was not only a tragedy for the people of Darfur, it also constituted a violation of the requirements set out in previous Council resolutions, he noted.

The UN envoy stressed that a sustained and lasting ceasefire in the region was of the utmost importance.

Only when the fighting had stopped could the parties, together with others who had not taken up arms - tribal leaders, civil society, representatives of displaced people, intellectuals and others - reach a fair, inclusive and sustainable agreement on governance, power, wealth, land, water and economic development, he said.



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