UN to keep the pressure on Sudan over Janjaweed, says Annan

New York- UN (PANA) -- The UN will keep up the pressure on the Khartoum government until it meets its commitments to disarm the militias in Sudan's troubled western Darfur region and restores security so the estimated 1.
2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) can feel safe to return home, Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday.
While there has been progress on humanitarian access to remote Darfur, Khartoum has to do "much more" to improve security for the IDPs who have gathered in over 100 makeshift camps across the region, Annan told reporters after briefing the Security Council on his recent trip to Africa.
He said last week's Council resolution required the Sudanese authorities to fulfil the pledges it had already made.
"They should be able to take steps to calm the situation, to stop the attacks, to protect the people, and continue the disarmament," the UN chief said.
"And there should be no confusion or no excuses," he warned.
The Security Council gave the Khartoum government 30 days to show it was taking action on the commitments or face potential sanctions.
Annan said: "The Council made it clear that if they fail to perform there will be consequences, and I hope that, if they do fail to perform, all the Council Members will be ready to act.
" He also said the African Union (AU) was expanding the size of the force it was sending to Darfur to monitor the crisis.
This, Annan said, was having "a positive impact" on dissuading the Janjaweed militias and others from further attacks on civilians.
He said the large public protest in Khartoum Wednesday against the UN was not unexpected, adding: "Sometimes governments use demonstrations to put pressure on the UN and to send a message to the international community.
" At the same time, Annan cautioned that the Sudanese government "also has to be aware that it has the responsibility for the protection of UN staff and UN facilities.
" Earlier, Jan Pronk, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Sudan, told UN Radio that while Wednesday's demonstration in Khartoum was not violent, it was "not making life easy" for UN staff in Sudan.
He said security in the IDP camps had generally improved, apart from a few incidents, but conditions were more dangerous outside the camps.
Pronk, who held talks this week with senior Sudanese officials, said he had asked them to address this problem so that people feel safe when they go to fetch water and firewood.
The envoy said the political focus was now on reviving peace talks between the Sudanese government and two Darfur rebel groups.
The talks are expected to resume later this month.
Now that Sudan has lifted previous obstacles to access for aid workers and relief supplies, the international community must make available more funding, staff and supplies to stave off a humanitarian disaster, he said.
Apart from the large number of IDPs, some 200,000 Sudanese now live as refugees in neighbouring Chad following the Darfur fighting.

04 august 2004 20:25:00

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