Pressure mounts on Khartoum

The European Parliament has called on the UN Security Council to slap an arms embargo and sanctions on Sudan in a bid to help end its civil wars.

    Taking the gun out of Sudanese politics may save lives

    In a resolution adopted as the Security Council flew to Nairobi for a meeting focusing on Sudan's main civil war on Wednesday, the EU assembly said the sanctions should be aimed at "the perpetrators of systematic attacks on human rights and other atrocities".
      
    The EU's directly elected assembly also stressed that the sanctions should not be aimed at ordinary people.
      
    They should, it said, ensure that such sanctions do not add to the suffering of the population of Sudan".
      
    The call from the assembly, which enjoys moral but not legal weight, came after European leaders on 4 November expressed "grave concern" about the deteriorating situation in Sudan's Darfur region, and reiterated their readiness to help the African Union to expand a mission there.

    In 1994 the present-day European Union imposed an arms embargo on Sudan.

    Political pressure
      
    At the instigation of the US, the UN Security Council is to hold the meeting on Thursday and Friday, principally to put pressure on Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement to finalise a deal to end a war that has claimed 1.5 million lives and displaced more than four million people since 1983.   

    Sudan's civil war has displaced
    more than four million people

    It is hoped that such a deal would also help to resolve a separate conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and some 1.5 million displaced since February 2003, when two rebel groups rose up against Khartoum.
      
    The government responded with major aerial and ground assaults and by co-opting militia forces widely accused of commiting serious war crimes and crimes against humanity. 
     
    In a phone conversation on Tuesday, SPLM leader John Garang "told [US President George] Bush it is a matter of days before we reach a final peace agreement", rebel spokesman Yasser Arman told AFP.

    The spokesman for Khartoum's delegation responded in kind. "I do concur. I don't think that we have a kind of a problem that we cannot solve in a matter of days or weeks," Said al-Khatibu said.

    SOURCE: AFP


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