Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned Sudan on Saturday to accept a new U.N. resolution aimed at ending violence in the western province of Darfur and use the next 30 days to rein in a marauding Arab militia that has killed more than 30,000 people and forced more than a million to flee their homes.
The resolution, which passed in the Security Council Friday on a 13 to 0 vote with two abstentions, warned of unspecified punitive action if the government failed to follow through on promises to crack down on the militia, known as the Janjaweed, restore security and facilitate international aid to alleviate a growing humanitarian crisis.
"The issue now is to move forward to help the suffering people of Darfur," Powell said after a meeting with Kuwaiti officials. "I hope the Sudanese government will use the period in the resolution to do everything it can to bring the Janjaweed under control."
Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said the resolution did not go beyond commitments Sudan made in early July to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to rein in the militia.
"If we look closely at this matter, we will find out that there is no reason to reject the resolution as it doesn't contain anything new, . . . other than what already has been signed on in the agreement with the United Nations," Ismail said, according to the Associated Press.
Human rights and aid groups say that since the crisis began 17 months ago, the Janjaweed has carried out atrocities in Darfur, including killings, rapes and setting villages ablaze, forcing African villagers to flee their homes and crops.
During his week-long swing through North Africa and the Persian Gulf region this week, Powell found opposition to the idea of threatening sanctions without giving Sudan more time to restrain the militia.
"We can have polemics about the resolution. But let's not forget the fact that hundreds of thousands are in need, and they're the ones we need to be trying to help," Powell said at a press conference with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah.
In Kuwait, Powell held talks with officials about Iraq, the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process and terrorism. Later, Powell visited Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, to discuss the impending handover of command authority of peacekeeping troops from NATO to the European Union.
Powell will wrap up his trip in Poland, leading a U.S. delegation at the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising against the Nazis.