"Sudan announces its rejection of the Security Council's misguided resolution," Information Minister al-Zahawi Ibrahim Malik said in a statement.

 

The UN Security Council on Friday passed a resolution warning Sudan to rein in what it called the Janjawid militias - who the US previously blamed for violence in the Darfur region - in 30 days or face international action.

 

The 13-0 vote, with abstentions from China and Pakistan, came after the US deleted the word "sanctions" and substituted a reference to a section of the UN Charter permitting punitive measures, to gain more support.

 

The Article 41 provision allows the "interruption" of economic, transport, communications or diplomatic measures, which amounts to sanctions.

 

Policies denounced

 

The resolution has been met with anger and surprise by the Khartoum government.

 

"Sudan expresses its deep regret that the issue of Darfur

should reach, with this speed, the Security Council, and that it be snatched from its regional context," Malik said.

 

He said the Security Council had intentionally ignored efforts by Khartoum, the African Union and the Arab League to resolve the crisis.

 

On the other hand, Sudan's UN ambassador Al-Fatih Muhammad Ahmad said he was "spellbound, totally speechless" at what he called the UN's unfair, unjust, and double-standard policies.

 

"Aren't these the very same states that we see daily on TV screens with their massive military machine while they are practising occupation of nations, pouring their fire on innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan?" he asked.

 

"The US Congress should be the very last party to speak about genocide, ethnic cleansing and slavery. Let them go back to their history," Ahmad said during a fiery 25-minute speech to the Security Council.

 

2003 rebellion

 

The UN has warned in previous weeks the Darfur region could face the world's worst humanitarian crisis unless relief is quickly brought in to tens of thousands of refugees.

 

The crisis began in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the Khartoum government.

Sudan said the US should examine
its own record on human rights

 

The Sudanese government expressed grave concern that the arming and actions of the rebels had not been addressed.

 

"Sudan is regretful that the Security Council ... did not address itself to the rebel militias in Darfur whose military operations continue to obstruct humanitarian aid," Malik said.

 

Sudan has accused the rebels of killing more than 1400 civilians since signing a ceasefire in early April and of slowing delivery of aid to the region.

 

At least 30,000 civilians have been killed and about one million villagers have left their homes and sought refuge in neighbouring areas.

 

France mobilises

 

Also on Friday, France ordered its troops stationed in Chad to provide security along the border with Sudan's Darfur region and said its military would help with the supply of humanitarian aid.

 

Hoping to avert a humanitarian crisis, French President Jacques Chirac ordered the mobilisation.

 

"Without waiting for the response of the international community, the Defence Ministry" has taken several steps, including the deployment of an "observation force already in place" on the Chadian side of the border with Sudan's Darfur region, said a statement from the president's office.

 

"The observation force will participate in the securing of the area on the Chadian side of the border, with a unit [of about 200 troops] deployed on the border," it added.

 

France said it would also make its military transport available for taking in humanitarian aid to an area suffering what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.