UN prepares for Darfur vote

Council members expected to extend UN peacekeeping mandate for another year.

    There have been deep divisions among UN
    members on the resolution [GALLO/GETTY]

    The current UN-African Union peacekeeping force, known as Unamid, has been struggling to contain violence in the region and at present only around 9,500 troops and police have been deployed out of a planned force of 26,000.

    This is partly due to Khartoum's insistence that the force mainly be comprised of Africans.

    Meanwhile, a report by the Save Darfur Coalition said on Wednesday that six leading nations have failed to provide helicopters and other equipment needed to protect civilians in Darfur and aid the UN peacekeeping force.

    Earlier in July seven UN peacekeepers were killed during an ambush by rebels in northern Darfur.

    'Deep divisions'

    The draft resolution says the council is ready to discuss suspending any future ICC genocide indictment of Bashir in the interest of peace in Darfur.

    Al Jazeera's John Terrett at the UN says there have been really deep divisions among members of the council over the issue of any potential prosecution of al-Bashir and the ICC's role.

    The proposed revision of the draft to include doubts over any such prosecution seems to be a diplomatic "fudge" to satisfy African countries' concerns and also those of Russia and China, who have large business interests in Sudan and wanted any proceedings by the ICC to be suspended for a year, our correspondent says.

    Western powers including the US and Latin American nations had said there should be no link between the ICC's actions and the peacekeeping force.

    Sudan says it will expel peacekeepers if al-Bashir is indicted [AFP]
    Sudan itself has threatened to expel all peacekeepers should al-Bashir be indicted.

    The draft also expresses the council's "deep concern for the decreasing security of humanitarian personnel, including killings of humanitarian workers," and for the violence on all sides of the conflict.

    And it demands "an end to attacks on civilians, from any quarter, including by aerial bombing".

    The conflict began when African ethnic minority groups took up arms against the Khartoum government and state-backed Arab militias, called the Janjawid, as all sides fought for resources and power in the remote region.

    International experts and UN officials estimate about 200,000 people have died and more than 2.2 million have been displaced in Darfur since the Darfur crisis erupted in early 2003.

    However, the Sudanese government says the numbers have been vastly exaggerated and that around 10,000 people have died.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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