Darfur rebels warned of sanctions

US and Sudan say groups who do not attend peace talks will face sanctions.

    Ban Ki-moon, right, and Alpha Oumar Konare, the AU Commission head, chaired the talks [AFP]
    John Negroponte, the US deputy secretary of state, added: "We are prepared to put sanctions.
     
    "The notion of sanctions is not limited to the [Khartoum] government alone."
     
    Ceasefire call
     
    On Thursday, Ahmed Abdel Shafi, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement - a major Darfur rebel group - called for the Tripoli talks to be delayed, saying a ceasefire must first take hold.
     
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    The African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), which co-chaired Friday's talks, also appealed for support to ensure the speedy deployment of a 26,000-strong joint AU-UN force to take over peacekeeping from about 6,000 under-equipped and under-funded AU troops.
     
    The UN has warned that the force, which Sudan insists on being predominantly African, will not be effective without contributions from non-African countries.
     
    African governments have already objected to non-African infantry soldiers being involved in the force, which could be deployed later this year.
     
    "Our view is that there are forces that are non-African that could be helpful to the enabling of the creation of this force, whether it has to do with logistical support, helicopter transport, mechanical assistance," Negroponte said.
     
    "We don't think Sudan has anything to be afraid of."
     
    Wanted minister
     
    Earlier on Friday the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) urged world leaders to "break their silence" and press the Sudanese government to arrest one of its ministers for alleged war crimes.

    The comments by Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, came ahead of a high-level UN meeting on Darfur on Friday.
     
    Moreno-Ocampo has called for the arrest of Ahmed Harun, Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister, who faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    He said he was concerned that silence by world leaders "has been understood in Khartoum as a weakening of international resolve".
     
    "It is time to break the silence," he said.
     
    Harun has rejected the charges.
     
    But bringing to justice those most responsible for killing more than 200,000 people and uprooting more than 2.5 million during the four-and-a-half-year conflict is not on the agenda for the meeting.
     
    Moreno-Ocampo said Harun, who is suspected of involvement in the murder, rape, torture and persecution of civilians in Darfur, is now in charge of the millions of people he forced out of villages into camps.
     
    "Ahmed Harun is not protecting the camps, he is controlling them. He must be stopped. He must be arrested. The international community must be consistent in their support of the law," Moreno-Ocampo said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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