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Blair Warns Sudan of Sanctions if it Rejects UN Darfur Plan

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the U.N. Security Council must be ready to impose new sanctions on Sudan if it rejects a U.N. plan to end the violence in Darfur.

Speaking at a news conference in London Tuesday, Mr. Blair said the only thing that will make the Sudanese government understand its responsibilities is pressure.

He spoke a day after Sudan formally told the United Nations it accepts phase two of a three-stage plan to strengthen the African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

The phase calls for deployment of 3,000 U.N. troops, police, and personnel to the region, along with several attack helicopters.

The Security Council and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed Sudan's agreement. But Western diplomats reacted more cautiously after Sudan's U.N. ambassador made comments appearing to reject some terms of the plan.

Sudan had earlier objected to including helicopters to back up the U.N. troops, who will reinforce 7,000 African Union peacekeepers.

The third and final stage of the U.N. plan calls for deployment of 20,000 U.N. and A.U. troops in Darfur. Sudan has yet to accept that phase.

On Monday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte warned Sudan that it faced increased isolation if it does not accept all phases of the U.N. plan.

The fighting in Darfur dates back to 2003, when rebels began an uprising against the central Sudanese government. Four years of fighting has killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced 2 million more from their homes.