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Sudan Rejects Darfur Peace Plan


Sudan's ruling party has rejected the latest U.S. and British draft of a resolution to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping force into the war torn region of Darfur. The refusal comes as aid agencies warn that the humanitarian situation in Darfur continues to worsen.

The government in Khartoum said Thursday that the deployment of international troops in Darfur would violate Sudan's national sovereignty. Chairman of the National Congress Party, Ghazi Salahh Eldin Atabani, told reporters that the resolution was unacceptable and that any country that supported the proposal would be considered an enemy.

The government has repeatedly warned that any U.N. or international forces that entered Darfur would be met with deadly force. Sudan's president Omar al-Beshir has warned that Darfur would become a graveyard for Western troops.

The draft resolution proposed that the United Nations force would keep the 7,000 African Union troops already in Darfur as the core of their peacekeeping mission. The African Union, on Wednesday, asked for more funding for their troops saying they will run out of money within two months.

While many in the international community have praised the efforts of the African Union forces, they have been severely hampered by their lack of aircraft and heavy trucks to monitor the area, roughly the size of France.

Horn of Africa program director for the International Crisis Group, David Mozersky, says that U.N. cannot hope to succeed by continuing to submit resolutions refused by the government in Khartoum. He says the U.N. needs to use other methods of coercion in the region.

"Begin looking at economic sanctions against the regime, against key individuals with responsibility for the atrocities carried out in Darfur," he said. "I think at the end of the day that is fear of the government of Sudan that a strong international force will arrest some of the leaders in the regime and take them to the Hague to be tried and despite countless reassurances by the U.N. that this would not be the intention of the mission there is still this hardline rhetoric and refusal."

Mozersky says the government in Khartoum is hiding behind the mask of nationalism and using the crisis in the Middle East as an opportunity to accuse western powers of imperialist motives in Sudan.

"I would say it has given confidence to the government that number one the attention of the U.N. and the broader international community has shifted quite dramatically to Lebanon and the Middle East," he said. "And secondly, with the pull of troops for a mission to Lebanon it may prove to be even more difficult to assemble a U.N. mission for Dafur. We have seen how difficult it has already been for the African Union it has been over the last two plus years. Unfortunately the inaction is just leading to continued suffering on the ground in Darfur."

On Wednesday, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said that incidents of rape near camps for those displaced by the fighting were becoming more common. The IRC called on the AU to increase patrols, although these have been scaled down.