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Sudanese Decry U.N. Threat of Sanctions

'Resentful' Reaction Predicted in Capital

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 20, 2004; Page A15

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 19 -- Sudan said Sunday that the U.N. Security Council's resolution threatening oil sanctions if it failed to end violence in the country's western region of Darfur was unfair and would make it harder to resolve the crisis.

The council's decision would only make the country "resentful" of the United Nations, said Ibrahim Ahmed Omar, head of the ruling National Congress party. He said the international community had not recognized the government's efforts to ease the situation in Darfur, where more than 1.2 million civilians from African tribes have been driven from their homes by a government-backed Arab militia known as the Janjaweed. Thousands of people have died in the crisis, aid workers say.

_____Crisis in Sudan_____
Q&A: Darfur A brief explanation of the issues and current humanitarian situation in Western Sudan.
Photos: Sudan's Rebels
U.N. Puts Sudan Sanctions Into Play (The Washington Post, Sep 19, 2004)
Death Rates in Darfur Rising, WHO Says (The Washington Post, Sep 15, 2004)
U.S. Calls Killings In Sudan Genocide (The Washington Post, Sep 10, 2004)
U.S. Drafts Resolution On Sudan Sanctions (The Washington Post, Sep 9, 2004)
U.S. Report Finds Sudan Promoted Killings (The Washington Post, Sep 8, 2004)

Omar said the government would try to reestablish security in the region by dispatching more police forces. He also said the government would try to arrest the militiamen but emphasized that they were outside its control.

"This is unfair and unjust," Omar told reporters after meeting with the president, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Bashir, in Khartoum, the capital. "Of course, the Sudanese government is part of the international community and part of the U.N., and it will make do with the resolution. But people should know one feels disappointed. We are going to be resentful."

Other officials said the resolution also failed to credit the government for allowing humanitarian aid workers greater access to more than 150 camps to deliver food and medical treatment and for issuing visas more quickly.

"We don't need sanctions. We need a political solution," Hago Issa, a member of the National Assembly, told a U.S. delegation led by Reps. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) and Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) that was touring Darfur.

The Security Council adopted the resolution Saturday in a vote of 11 to 0, with four abstentions -- China, Russia, Pakistan and Algeria -- and said it would meet again soon to consider the sanctions against Sudan's petroleum sector. No date was set for that session.

The U.N. resolution also calls for establishing a commission to investigate whether the atrocities committed in Darfur meet the legal definitions of genocide. Sudanese officials said they would welcome the commission because they said they did not believe genocide had occurred. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said recently that the militia and the Sudanese government had committed genocide. On Saturday, the German defense minister, Peter Struck, also said that the atrocities in Darfur amounted to genocide.

"I think the Security Council slept during Rwanda," Issa said, referring to the slaughter of 800,000 people in that country a decade ago. "Now they want to make up for this by pressuring Sudan. They won't find genocide. They will find a war. These sanctions will put Sudan in a corner."

The resolution demands that Sudan accept an enlarged African Union monitoring force. Sudan had initially said it was against a bigger mission, but some officials said Sunday they were reviewing the idea.

Jackson, whose father, Jesse L. Jackson, visited the region last month, said Sudan's claim that politics and oil were driving the sanctions was "a distraction." Rep. Jackson urged the Sudanese to accept a more robust African Union force, including the addition of more than 3,000 peacekeepers. Currently, about 80 monitors and their 305-member protective force are on the ground in Darfur, an area the size of France.

"This is an opportunity for Sudan to go on the offensive and show the world its public commitment to ending the conflict," the congressman said. "The government should throw down the welcome mat. It's not a today issue or a tomorrow issue. It's an as-soon-as-possible issue. Every day that goes by only exacerbates the problem."

The U.S. delegation met with recent arrivals at the Kalma refugee camp in the southern part of Darfur who said their villages had been attacked by Janjaweed just 10 days ago. The camp has ballooned from 5,000 refugees six months ago to more than 80,000 today, aid workers said, with 3,000 arriving in the last 10 days.


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