UK says Sudan faces tough action on Darfur

UK says Sudan faces tough action on Darfur
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First Published: Wed, Jun 06 2007. 04 05 AM IST
Updated: Wed, Jun 06 2007. 04 05 AM IST
London: Britain will push for tougher UN sanctions against Sudan if its government does not support international efforts to end the conflict in Darfur, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said on 5 June 2007.
All sides in the Darfur conflict faced a choice of committing to the political process outlined by the African Union and United Nations or “face the consequences,” Beckett told Britain’s parliament during a debate on Darfur.
Sudan’s cooperation would lead to an end of sanctions and more money for reconstruction and development, she said.
But if Sudan failed to honour agreements, Britain and its partners would seek to introduce a further sanctions resolution at the UN Security Council, she said.
“And what goes for the government of Sudan goes for the rebel groups: If they do not cooperate, if they are not willing to enter into a genuine ceasefire, then in our view they too should, and will, be subjected to sanctions,” she said.
The United States and Britain have been working on an expanded UN sanctions resolution for weeks, but Russia and South Africa have questioned the timing and China has opposed further penalties.
The UN Security Council endorsed plans last month for an African Union-UN peacekeeping force for Darfur, although a dispute over who is to command the force has delayed deployment.
Beckett said she understood the African Union and the UN had agreed on detailed proposals for the so-called “hybrid” force and these would be put to the government of Sudan.
“We are urging very speedy agreement and very speedy acceptance of those proposals,” she said.
The UN Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on rebels and militia but not on the government, although it forbids offensive military flights by Khartoum over Darfur, where more than 2,00,000 people are estimated to have died and at least two million people have been uprooted since 2003.
The United States and Britain are considering an arms embargo over the entire country, a halt to all military flights over Darfur, monitors at Sudanese airports, and an expansion of the list of people under sanctions.
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First Published: Wed, Jun 06 2007. 04 05 AM IST