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Sudan, U.N. Agree on Plan to End Violence in Darfur

The accord, which has detailed steps to tackle the crisis, must first be cleared by the Cabinet.

August 06, 2004|From Reuters

KHARTOUM, Sudan — The United Nations and Sudan have agreed on a plan to tackle the humanitarian crisis and disarm marauding militias in Darfur in an effort to avert threatened penalties, U.N. officials said Thursday.

The agreement, reached in Khartoum, was not released. It contains detailed steps to be taken in the next 30 days "on how to begin to disarm the janjaweed and other outlawed groups, on improving security in Darfur, and on addressing the humanitarian crisis," U.N. associate spokeswoman Denise Cook said in New York.

The U.N. Security Council last week adopted a resolution demanding that Khartoum disarm the militias, known as janjaweed, which are accused of pillaging, raping and driving villagers off their land. It asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to report in 30 days on the government's progress.

The resolution said the council would consider imposing unspecified penalties if Sudan was not complying.

Jan Pronk, Annan's special representative, told reporters in Khartoum that the government had kept its promise to allow relief organizations into Darfur.

Pronk said he and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail had agreed on detailed policy measures, which require the approval of Sudan's Cabinet, to avoid sanctions.

"If that text is agreed upon by the Cabinet as a whole and if that text is implemented, then I have very good hope that the Security Council ... can only come to the conclusion that there is indeed substantial progress," Pronk said.

About 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2.2 million are in urgent need of food, medicine and shelter in the western Darfur region.

The conflict began in February 2003, when the government-backed janjaweed began to suppress an uprising by rebel groups.

At the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador John C. Danforth said Khartoum had to make sure its military was not "unloading bombs from planes" or "using helicopters to destroy villages."

"If this situation continues, it's going to be very visible," Danforth said. "The government of Sudan will be an international pariah, and there will be consequences."

More than 100,000 people from Darfur have fled to neighboring Chad.

French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie was to fly to Chad today to visit aid workers and French troops helping refugees.

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