In a statement adopted unanimously on Tuesday, the council said it was also gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation and rights abuses in the western region ravaged by fighting.

 

"We have seen action on the ground in Sudan after Security Council attention, and we would expect that the government of Sudan would uphold its commitments," said US envoy Stuart Holliday.

 

He said he hoped the government would be "part of the solution" in easing what UN officials describe as the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world.

 

Bitter conflict

 

At least 10,000 people have been killed in Darfur since rebels rose up in February 2003, prompting a counter-offensive by government forces and their militia allies.

 

UN officials say pro-government forces are committing massive human rights violations that may amount to crimes against humanity.

 

The council said the government had to disarm and neutralise the militias, known as Janjawid.

 

The 15-member council expressed concern about reports of "indiscriminate attacks on civilians, sexual violence, forced displacement and acts of violence, especially those with an ethnic dimension, and demands that those responsible be held accountable."