However, Khartoum said on Sunday it would implement a 90-day programme agreed to earlier with Secretary General Kofi Annan.
   
"Sudan will commit to implement the agreement that it signed on 3 July with Kofi Annan and will commit to the joint implementation mechanism which was set up to monitor this agreement," said Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Usman Ismail.

But in a resolution passed on Friday, the UN Security Council demanded the Sudanese government take action within a month to disarm the militias blamed for creating a humanitarian crisis in the western region.
   
If Sudan fails to satisfy the council, the world body intends to consider economic and diplomatic sanctions.
   
The agreement with Annan included a Sudanese government commitment to disarm militias and accept human rights monitors in Darfur, where conflict has displaced more than one million people, but it allowed Sudan more time. 
   
Hunger and disease

An assistant administrator with the US Agency for International Development, Roger Winter, said in addition to the 30,000 people who have been killed in violence in Darfur, as many as 50,000 more may have died from hunger and disease. 
   

"The issue of Darfur
has been taken advantage of by those who want to get their foot in the door in Sudan"

Muhammad Bashir Sulaiman,
Sudan armed forces spokesman

"That number will start to jet up a good bit over the next few months and then it will start to tail off because a lot of the most vulnerable people will have died by then," he said last week in Washington after returning from Sudan.
   
Sudan says it has already started to crack down on the nomadic militias, who have been attacking villages, looting, raping, burning houses and driving settled peoples off their land.
   
Villagers have taken refuge in camps in Darfur or across the border in Chad. 
   
Genocide?

The crisis in Darfur has put the Sudanese government on the defensive against mainly Western outrage and threats of military intervention if Khartoum does not do what it is told.
   
However, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Ghait, who visited Darfur on Saturday, said in Cairo on Sunday that talk of genocide or ethnic cleansing was out of place.
   
"To talk about ... grave violations of human rights or massacres or other such accusations, I don't think it is that way."
   
Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa said it was unacceptable that Sudan become a "playground to accept troops from tens of thousands of miles away from a country which is hostile to the Arabs".

Sudan's armed forces spokesman echoed Musa's message in an address to journalists at the police force club in Khartoum.
   
"The issue of Darfur has been taken advantage of by those who want to get their foot in the door in Sudan," said Muhammad Bashir Sulaiman. "The armed forces are prepared to wage any battle."