Antonio Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said on Tuesday, it was perilous to have such instability in a country with so many neighbours.

 

Sudan is bordered by Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad, Libya and Egypt.

 

At a news conference, Guterres said: "In my opinion, it is the most dangerous crisis point in Africa and in the world in general.

 

"That is why I think that the top priority of the international community should be to create the conditions to force a peace accord."

 

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state said on Monday she favoured a major UN role in Darfur and told Khartoum it must cooperate in accepting international help.

 

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Darfur since mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003 accusing the central government of neglect.

 

Khartoum denies US charges of genocide but the International Criminal Court is investigating alleged war crimes there.

 

Sudan has rejected UN suggestions that western forces should be sent to Darfur, and argues the international community should instead provide more cash to African Union forces already on the ground.