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Blair Calls Situation in Darfur 'Totally Unacceptable'


British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the situation in Sudan's Darfur region is "totally unacceptable."

In a statement issued Saturday, Mr. Blair said there are two million displaced persons in Sudan and up to four million in need of food. He said Britain would have to consider alternative approaches to Sudan if rapid progress is not made to end the conflict in Darfur.

The British prime minister said that appalling human rights violations are being committed in Darfur, particularly against women and young girls.

Mr. Blair urged the government and rebels to move quickly to implement a ceasefire and commit to a political process.

Britain and the United States have been among the nations pressuring Sudan to allow U.N. peacekeepers to be deployed to Darfur.

Washington's special envoy to Sudan, Andrew Natsios, is traveling to Sudan for talks on this issue.

Last week, Natsios warned that if Sudan continues to reject U.N. peacekeepers, the Bush administration would move to what he called "Plan B." He did not elaborate.

Friday, outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan accused the Sudanese government of failing to protect its citizens in Darfur.

In unusually blunt language, Mr. Annan said Khartoum has failed to accept its responsibility to protect its citizens. He said government leaders may have to answer collectively and individually for the killings, rape and murder.

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