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Fighting Rages in Sudan's Darfur

More police, human rights monitors and African Union peacekeepers are urgently needed in Sudan's western Darfur region where fighting rages on despite a peace accord ending a separate conflict in southern Sudan, a senior UN official said on Tuesday. 

Jan Pronk, the special UN envoy for Sudan, told the UN Security Council arms were flooding into the western Darfur region.


In the area, violence was spreading beyond camps for the homeless, banditry was on the rise and rebels were staging attacks near oil facilities, he said.


"We may move into a period of intense violence unless swift action is taken," Pronk said.


"I do not exclude the possibility that the signature of the agreement (on the south) will be followed in the short term by an intensification of violence in and around Darfur."


US Ambassador John Danforth backed Pronk's views.


"I am for protecting the lives of the people of Darfur. I am for doing that on a very urgent basis," he told reporters.


The conflict was sparked in 2003 when rebel groups took up arms against the government in a struggle over resources and power.


At the Security Council's urging, the African Union has pledged to deploy more than 3,000 troops and monitors in Darfur.


To date it has sent in only a third of these and says it needs more outside help to send more.


Still, the United States wants the council to increase the pressure on the parties by imposing sanctions on their leaders.


But Pronk said sanctions should not be imposed now as Khartoum had just responded to international wishes by signing the peace agreement in the south ending Africa's longest civil war.


(China Daily January 13, 2005)

US Concerned About Violence in Darfur
Dawn of Great Expectation for Peaceful, Prosperous Sudan
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