Addressing world leaders at the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Usman Ismail said threats of sanctions would only undermine efforts to restore security in the troubled western region.

Arguing that the threats sent an "erroneous message" to the rebels to be intransigent, Ismail urged the world body "not to complicate the situation on the ground" and to support the efforts of the African Union, which plans to send up to 5000 troops to help end violence in Darfur.

"We hope the international community will cooperate with us, especially the Security Council, to find a solution instead of sending threats and condemnation," he said.

Khartoum: Threats of sanctions
spur rebels to be intransigent

UN resolution

A UN Security Council resolution last Saturday called for an investigation into charges of genocide in Darfur, and warned Sudan of possible sanctions against its oil industry unless it protects the region's population.

The violence in Darfur began in February 2003, when rebels rose up against Khartoum to demand an end to the marginalisation of their region.

Ismail denied charges of genocide and said human rights groups were welcomed in Darfur to assess the situation there.

"The doors of Sudan will be open for all those who want to know the truth," he said. "We have nothing to hide."

The UN describes the conflict in Darfur, which has killed about 50,000 people and displaced another 1.5 million, as the world's biggest on-going humanitarian disaster.