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Sudan Rejects UN Findings on Darfur
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Sudan Tuesday rejected as invalid the findings of a United Nations human rights mission which accused Khartoum of orchestrating and taking part in gross violations in Darfur.
The team, led by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams, was asked to investigate charges of widespread abuse in Darfur, where observers say some 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million driven from their homes since revolt broke out in 2003.

Sudan's Justice Minister Mohamed Ali Elmardi also told the UN's Human Rights Council, which had dispatched the mission, that the humanitarian situation in Sudan's vast western region was "much more stable now".

The minister said all the UN team's original five members had not taken part in the mission, which traveled to the region last month but was not allowed into Darfur, and that this meant it was "no longer valid".

"We therefore strongly and resolutely oppose any consideration by this esteemed Council of any report that comes out of this mission," he said in remarks to the 47-state Council.

The United States urged Sudan on Tuesday to accept the deployment of an international force in the troubled Darfur region and threatened punitive measures if the Sudanese government does not do so.

"To the extent that Sudan continues to frustrate implementation of this agreement, the US and other members of the international community are going to have to think seriously about implementing additional measures to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur," State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said at a briefing.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution to deploy peacekeeping forces in the Darfur region. However, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir sent a letter to the UN this month and wanted to restrict the movements of the international force.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and some 2 million displaced because of the armed conflicts in Darfur.

(China Daily via agencies, Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2007)

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