British Foreign Secretary due in Khartoum

Khartoum- Sudan (PANA) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is due here Monday for talks with senior Sudanese government officials on the humanitarian situation in strife-ridden Darfur.
Straw is scheduled to meet with President Omer Hassan el-Bashir, Foreign Affairs minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and top government officials in what pundits see as continuing efforts to spur negotiations between the government and the rebels in Darfur.
A fresh found of talks between Khartoum and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) was expected to open Monday in Abuja, Nigeria.
Also on Monday, the UN Security Council would receive a preliminary report on the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur.
Ahead of his two-day visit, Amnesty International (AI) urged Straw Sunday to confront the Sudanese government head on.
"Jack Straw must use this critical opportunity to make it starkly clear to the Sudanese government that the international community will not tolerate continuing atrocities in Darfur," local press reports quoted AI director Kate Allen as stressing.
"Mr Straw's message should be that rape, torture and murder absolutely must be stopped and that perpetrators need to be brought to justice" Allen said, insisting "it is action that is needed now, not denials or empty promises.
" UN agencies and international humanitarian and human rights organisations blame Khartoum for arming a pro-Arab militia, the Janjaweed, which is accused of killing members of tribes seen to have rebel sympathies, and driving them from their homes.
The UN estimates that more than 30,000 people have been killed in Darfur since February last year, and that more than a million more were now homeless and facing starvation, disease and further attacks.

23 august 2004 12:50:00

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