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US Presses for UN Vote on Sudan Sanctions This Week - 2004-07-28

The U.N. Security Council is deliberating a resolution that could impose sanction on Sudan if the government does not act quickly to disarm the government-backed Arab militias who are accused of killing tens of thousands of Sudanese people. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. is pressing for a vote this week.

Ambassador John Danforth said urgent action is needed to stop the killing in Darfur.

"Human beings are being killed," he said. "Hundreds of them every day are being killed as a direct result of the action of the government in Khartoum, as a direct result of its policies. Hundreds of people every day are being killed. Their responsibility to their people is to stop it and to stop it now. And the world is watching."

According to Ambassador Danforth, the U.S-drafted resolution would make clear that the Sudanese government will face sanctions if it does not live up to its commitment to disarm the Janjaweed militia and put an end to the violence.

Passage of the resolution, he said, would put the government of Sudan on a renewable, 30-day timetable to prove it has taken concrete action to stop the Arab militias who are accused of raping Sudanese women, burning civilians alive and leveling entire villages, or face penalty by the international community.

"If there is non-compliance by the government of Sudan on such a clock-like mechanism as this, then the Security Council would have to act. And that those actions would have to include sanctions," he added.

China, Pakistan and Russia are reportedly opposed to an immediate leveling of sanctions against Khartoum, because they believe the government of Sudan should be given adequate time to disarm the Janjaweed fighters.

The Security Council is scheduled to continue deliberating on Thursday.