The United States distributed a draft U.N. resolution Wednesday that threatens consideration of sanctions on Sudan's oil industry if Khartoum fails to stem violence in the Darfur region of Sudan or blocks the deployment of thousands of African monitors.
The draft Security Council resolution, which the 15-nation council is to begin debating Thursday, also calls on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to establish a commission to investigate and prosecute human rights violators and determine whether their crimes amount to genocide.
The U.S. initiative is designed to ratchet up political pressure on Khartoum to accept a U.N. proposal to expand a small African Union observer mission by creating a force of more than 3,000 African peacekeepers. The mandate of the new force is the subject of Nigerian-sponsored talks between Sudan and Darfur rebels in Abuja, Nigeria.
Senior Security Council ambassadors said the resolution is likely to face intense resistance, particularly from the council's strongest opponents of sanctions, including China and Pakistan, both of which import oil from Sudan. But even European governments, including Britain, believe that the U.S. resolution will have to be watered down to gain broad support in the council, according to a European diplomat. "I think the U.S. approach is what I would call stick-based rather than carrot-based," one council diplomat said. "We feel now is not the time for sanctions."
U.S. officials and human rights advocates charge that Sudanese-sponsored Arab militias have killed tens of thousands of black African civilians in Darfur over the past 18 months and forced more than 1 million from their homes. The U.S. draft expresses "grave concern" over Sudan's failure to "fully comply" with the council's demand that it crack down on the Arab militias.
Although the three-page text credits Khartoum with achieving a "limited improvement" in access for humanitarian aid workers in Darfur, it presents a harsh assessment of the government's commitment to end the suffering in Sudan. And it calls on Annan to brief the council within 30 days on Khartoum's compliance with the council's demands.
In addition, the draft resolution contains a threat of unspecified future sanctions against the government in Khartoum or individual Sudanese officials responsible for backing the militias.