Jamal Ibrahim, the foreign ministry spokesman, on Wednesday was quoted as saying that it was a "negative message" that could undermine African Union-sponsored efforts to bring an end to the conflict that has killed up to 300,000 people and displaced more than two million.

He was quoted by the official SUNA news agency.

"The efforts currently being exerted in Abuja have neared their end, and what is needed now is support and not the use of the stick and negative statements," Ibrahim said after Tuesday's vote in the Security Council.

Military figures

With Russia and China abstaining, the Security Councill voted in favour of financial and travel sanctions on four Sudanese, including Major General Mohamed Elhassan, head of the Sudanese armed forces' western command, which covers Darfur.
  

Bolton has welcomed the
sanctions against the four officials

It also covered Adam Yacub Shant, a commander in the Sudan Liberation Army, one of the two main rebel groups in Darfur, Sheikh Mussa Hilal, a North Darfur tribal chief and Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, a field commander in the pro-government National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD).

John Bolton, the US ambassador to the UN, said: "This resolution demonstrates that the Security Council is serious in its efforts to restore peace and security in the region and, far from interfering in the peace process in Abuja, it will strengthen that process."

The US drafted the resolution.
  
The council also unanimously approved a non-binding Tanzanian-drafted statement expressing full support for the Abuja peace talks and calling on Khartoum and the Darfur rebels to reach a deal by the April 30 deadline set by the AU and the international community.

AU mediators presented the warring parties with a draft peace agreement late on Tuesday and urged to them to sign the deal before the end of the week.