As Darfur violence continues, UN Security Council meets on sanctions

Amb. Adamantios Vassilakis

27 February 2006 – As violence continues in Sudan’s North Darfur region, the United Nations Security Council met today to consider sanctioning individuals deemed to be a threat to the peace or to human rights in the area, where fighting involving rebels, the Government and militias have already taken a great toll on civilians.

After a receiving a briefing by the Chair of the Council Sanctions Committee, Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece, the Council “expressed its desire to move forward expeditiously on targeted sanctions, which I expect we’ll do shortly,” John Bolton of the United States, the current Council President, told the press this morning.

“The purpose of the targeted sanctions mechanism of resolution 1591 is to apply pressure – and I don’t think we should be ashamed to say that – to people who are violating the arms embargo, not contributing to our effort to establish an effective peace process in Darfur and restore the deteriorating security situation there,” Mr. Bolton said.

Since fighting flared a week ago in North Darfur, a large number of villages have been attacked and burned, markets have been looted and people displaced, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said today, with clashes between the Sudan Armed Forces and rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) continuing.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative (SRSG) for Sudan, Jan Pronk, travelled to South Darfur over the weekend, urging the parties there to exercise restraint and protect civilians, according to a UN Spokesman.

UNMIS was deployed to support the peace agreement for the long-running civil conflict in southern Sudan signed about a year ago. It also has a mandate from the UN Security Council to provide some support to the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

On 3 March, SRSG Pronk is expected to attend a ministerial meeting of the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council on the shift to a proposed Darfur peacekeeping force supervised by the UN.

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