UN envoy: Darfur key to Sudan peace

A senior UN envoy has said a landmark peace agreement ending Sudan's two-decade-old war in the south will crumble if violence in Darfur persists.

    The Darfur crisis has left about two million people homeless

    Jan Pronk, the UN special envoy in Sudan, urged the UN Security Council on Friday to approve his request for 10,000 troops and 755 police to enforce the new north-south peace deal, which would change the structure of the Khartoum government and army. 

    But he said: "I am convinced that without a solution in Darfur, the north-south will not remain a sustainable peace agreement." 

    Pronk and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan have urged the Security Council to adopt one resolution on the peacekeepers as well as the Darfur crisis, where pro-government militia have looted, killed and raped and made two million people homeless. 

    New deal

    On Tuesday, Sudan's vice-president, Ali Usman Muhammad Taha, and John Garang, head of the main southern Sudanese rebel group, will appear before the council. Under the new deal, Garang is to become vice-president in Khartoum. 

    Garang will be vice-president
    in Khartoum under the deal

    The two men were the chief negotiators of the north-south pact, and Pronk said Taha was now in charge of resolving the Darfur conflict in the west, which Garang also considered his "number one priority". 

    Despite promises to contain the militia, known as Janjawid, Pronk said Sudan had not prevented them from attacking more villages, provoking counter-attacks from rebels.

    He said people are still scared because the government used to provide air cover for the militias and Khartoum continues to fly military aircraft overhead. 

    "The government says they are not supporting them. I tell them: 'You have to go further - to prevent it,'"  he said, adding that militia on one day in January killed 100 people, 80% of them women and children. 

    One resolution wanted

    Security Council members also want one resolution on Sudan but are still divided over whether to impose sanctions on perpetrators of the violence as the United States wants. The Bush administration is also threatening an oil embargo. 

    A Sudanese People's Liberation
    Army soldier reads the peace deal

    The new resolution may put off the touchy issue of trying perpetrators of atrocities, as requested by a key commission of lawyers the council had asked to go to Sudan and judge whether or not genocide had occurred. 

    The commission, in a report last week, found widespread crimes in Darfur by the government and the Janjawid. It said that did not constitute genocide but might be "no less heinous". 

    The commissiion gave a sealed list of perpetrators to Annan and said they should be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which the United States opposes and Europe supports. 

    SOURCE: Reuters


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