UN slammed over Darfur delay

Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds has accused the United Nations of dragging its feet in dealing with the crisis in Sudan's strife-torn western province of Darfur.

    The conflict has left 50,000 dead and displaced 1.4 million people

    "The atrocious situation in Darfur ... was put on the agenda of the [UN] Security Council far too late," Freivalds told a security seminar at the University of Reykjavik in Iceland on Tuesday.

      

    "But its inclusion on the agenda was, in part, due to the commitment of states that do not have seats on the Council," she said in comments posted on the Swedish government website.

      

    The UN gave Sudan a 30-day deadline on 30 July to disarm the Janjawid militia, withdraw its regular forces from around the camps of the displaced and ensure free access to the area for aid agencies.

     

    Pressure urged

      

    Freivalds last week visited Darfur and the Sudanese capital Khartoum, where the 18-month conflict between the government, backed by militia allies, and two rebel groups, has forced more than 1.4 million people from their homes and left 30,000 to 50,000 dead.

     

    "The atrocious situation in Darfur ... was put on the agenda of the (UN) Security Council far
    too late"

    Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds

    She has urged the international community to step up pressure on Khartoum to resolve the crisis, rather than impose sanctions.

      

    "It is important for government officials to go to Sudan, for every individual country to go there and show that there is pressure from a united international community," she said last week upon her return from the region.

      

    On Monday, the United Nations envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, said it was too early to impose sanctions on Sudan, calling instead for a large observer mission to Darfur.

    SOURCE: AFP


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