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US Drops Word 'Sanctions' from Sudan UN Resolution - 2004-07-29

The United States has dropped the word "sanctions" from a draft Security Council resolution on Sudan. The U.S. ambassador says the changed language does not lessen the pressure on the Sudanese government to stop the atrocities in Darfur.

Following several days of discussions in the Security Council, U.S. Ambassador John Danforth says members may have reached a compromise on what action to take regarding Sudan.

"The wording in the initial drafts of the resolution included the word 'sanctions,'" he said. "It turns out that the word is objectionable to certain members of the Security Council. They would rather use what I would call 'U.N. speak' for exactly the same thing."

China, Pakistan and Russia are among the members of the 15-seat Security Council that oppose immediate sanctions against Khartoum, arguing the Sudanese government should be given time to end to the violence that is estimated to have killed at least 30,000 people.

The revised draft resolution gives the Sudanese government 30 days to show it is disarming the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed and bring its leaders to justice. If Khartoum does not live up to that promise, the Security Council will consider further action, according to measures provided for in Article 41 of the U.N. Charter regarding Sudan.

Ambassador Danforth says Article 41 includes provisions that can interrupt economic relations, and so the removal of the word "sanctions" does not weaken the Security Council resolution currently on the table.

"It really takes no teeth out of it," added Mr. Danforth. "It's simply a verbal change. I mean, all you have to do is look at it. Measures include partial interruption of economic relations, communications, transportation, and so on. So I mean, that's what sanctions are."

The Security Council is scheduled to vote on the Sudan resolution on Friday.

Meanwhile, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe says violence is continuing at camps for internally displaced people in north Darfur.

"Government security personnel have been threatening internally displaced persons who have spoken to foreign visitors, and have arrested and beaten several community leaders," she added.

Ms. Okabe says Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is attending a summit of African leaders in Ghana, has appealed to the government of Sudan to abide by its commitment to protect the Sudanese people. An estimated one million people have been displaced as a result of the conflict, and two million are in need of food and medicine.