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UN Mounts Pressure on Sudan over Darfur Crisis

The United Nations Security Council increased its pressure on Sudan over the Darfur crisis on Saturday, threatening to impose sanctions on the nation's oil sector and its individual government members if it fails to stabilize the situation in Darfur.

A US-drafted resolution to this effect was adopted by the 15-nation council in a vote of 11 to 0, with abstentions by China, Pakistan, Russia and Algeria.

The resolution, co-sponsored by Britain, Germany, Romania and Spain, was the second to be passed by the council containing the warning that punitive measures would be taken against Sudan over Darfur.

The new resolution demands Sudan comply with the July 30 resolution which calls for the disarmament of Arab militias and the arrest of their leaders responsible for alleged atrocities committed in Darfur.

It also demands Sudan cooperate fully with an expanded African Union (AU) monitoring mission in Darfur with a broader mandate.

The resolution warns that in the event of Sudan's non-compliance, the council "shall consider taking additional measures... such as actions to affect Sudan's petroleum sector and the government of Sudan or individual members of the government of Sudan."

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, present during the vote, is requested to rapidly set up a commission to investigate violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur and determine "whether or not acts of genocide have occurred."

"The Security Council and the international community should focus on encouraging the Sudanese government to continue to cooperate, rather than the other way round," Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya told the council after the vote.

"The Chinese delegation has serious reservations on the draft resolution. We are concerned that it will not help contribute to the solution of the problem," he said.

"Nevertheless, since the key of the council's work at present is to support the African Union in extending its deployment in Darfur, which reflects the wishes of the African Union and the secretary-general, and the broad consensus, the Chinese delegation has refrained from blocking the adoption of the draft resolution."

"Only a political solution will bring peace to the population of Darfur," he said. "China remains unchanged in its position against sanctions. It is our consistent view that instead of helping solve complicated problems, sanctions may make them even more complicated."

The envoys of Pakistan, Algeria and Russia echoed Wang's view, with Algerian UN Ambassador Abdallah Baali accusing the resolution of lacking justice and infringing Sudan's sovereignty.

But US Ambassador John Danforth hailed the new resolution. While urging the African Union to play "crucially important" role in Darfur, he said, "The crisis in Darfur is uniquely grave. It is the largest humanitarian disaster in the world."

Besides the five sponsors, those voting in favor were France, Benin, Angola, Chile, the Philippines and Brazil.

In a letter made public just before the vote, the Sudanese government reaffirmed its readiness to cooperate with the African Union (AU).

Sudan is prepared to "fully cooperate with the African Union" and "will welcome an agreement with the AU on any numbers of monitors and their protection forces as the AU deems necessary," the letter read.

Annan has recommended enlarging the AU mission to between 2,000 and 3,000 people, and authorizing it to investigate violations of the ceasefire accord between the rebels and the government. The AU currently has 60 monitors and a 300-strong protection force in Darfur.

(Xinhua News Agency September 19, 2004)

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