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Bush Declares Genocide in Sudan's Darfur

U.S. Ambassador John Danforth, however, told reporters after a closed-door council meeting that he expected the draft to be adopted, perhaps next week and with some revisions.

He said a larger African Union monitoring mission in Darfur was crucial. "The importance of getting an outside presence into Darfur to monitor the situation is something that is impossible to overstate," Danforth said.

Angelo Beda, deputy speaker of Sudan's parliament, called the genocide declaration "posturing by America, possibly for the elections."

Speaking to Reuters in Nairobi, he suggested the Bush administration made the charge to court black voters. "Where is this genocide, where is this rape they are talking about?" he said.

The U.S. draft resolution demands Khartoum stop what U.S. officials say is a campaign of rape, murder and looting against African villagers carried out by the Janjaweed Arab militia.

"The government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility, and ... genocide may still be occurring," Powell said.

Powell called on the U.N. to investigate the violence, which a U.N. spokesman said was the first time a nation had invoked Article VIII of the U.N. convention on genocide allowing nations to ask the world body to take "appropriate" action.

Beda and two colleagues, touring African capitals to put Khartoum's position, said U.S. pressure would stir fresh separatist turmoil elsewhere in the country, complicate Darfur peace efforts and possibly torpedo peace moves in a separate 21-year conflict in the south.

At peace talks in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, Darfur rebels said negotiations with the Sudan government were on the verge of collapse. The two sides have been far apart on key security issues, including disarmament.

In Khartoum, Sudanese Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin told Reuters it would be unfair for the U.N. to impose sanctions and that Sudan would agree to expanding the mandate of AU monitors to allow them to document human rights abuses.

The 53-nation AU has more than 80 observers in Darfur, but only to monitor a cease-fire between the government and rebels. Some 300 AU troops have been deployed to protect the monitors. (Additional reporting by Opheera McDoom in Khartoum, Tume Ahemba in Abuja, William Maclean in Nairobi, Evelyn Leopold at the United Nations)

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