Jamal Mohamed Ibrahim, a spokesman for the Sudanese foreign affairs ministry, told AFP: "Sudan did not close the door on dialogue with the international community."

The Sudanese official described the comments made by Annan in New York on Friday about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur as "unjustified".

Annan warned that the situation in war-torn Darfur was "serious and desperate," and that "the Sudanese leadership may be held collectively and individually responsible for what happened to the population of Darfur".

Sudan said Annan's remarks were based on an assumption that Khartoum wanted to remove African Union (AU) peacekeepers, which would leave vaccum in security for Darfur's people.
  
In response Ibrahim said: "Sudan did not ask the AU to withdraw its forces and even if the African organisation decides to leave Darfur, there will be no  security vacuum because the Sudanese government has its own plan to  ensure safety in the area."

Detiorating Darfur
 

"The message I have tried to get to the Sudanese government is that the international community is not coming in as an invading force, but basically to help them protect the people"

Kofi Annan,
UN secretary general

Sudan's government has refused to allow a UN force into the lawless western region, where 2.5 million people have been evicted from their homes.

The Sudanese government said on Monday that it would ask the AU forces to leave by the end of the month if it could no longer continue its mission.

Annan told reporters that if the AU withdrew and Sudan officials continued to reject UN troops they [Sudan] are placing themselves in a situation where the leadership may be held collectively and individually responsible for what happens to the population in Darfur.

"The message I have tried to get to the Sudanese government is that the international community is not coming in as an invading force, but basically to help them protect the people," Annan said.

AU mission

AU will soon decide whether to
keep its troops in Sudan or not

Ibrahim told AFP on Saturday that Sudanese government officials were awaiting a delegation of AU officials to discuss  their mission.
  
"The delegation would come to Khartoum before the meeting of the foreign ministers envisaged in New York on September 18.
  
"At the meeting, AU diplomatic chiefs are to make a final decision on whether to continue or abandon their Darfur  mission at the end of the month," he said.
  
The US had indicated on Wednesday that it expects the AU to decide to maintain its force in Darfur.

Sean McCormack, a spokesman for the US state department said: "We're in very close contact with the AU. They are going to have  to make some crucial decisions about their force in Darfur."

Antonio Guterres, UN refugee chief, warned on Friday that a major catastrophe was brewing in Darfur that could destabilise the whole region.

"If things don't improve, we're heading for a major  catastrophe," Guterres said.

Guterres underlined the threat of a mass further displacement which would add to 2.5 million people who have already fled their homes, including 200,000 refugees in neighbouring Chad.