25 April 2006 Addressing the continuing atrocities against civilians in Darfur, Sudan, caused by fighting between rebels, the Government and allied tribal militias, the United Nations Security Council today urged that the parties reach a peace accord by the end of this month and imposed sanctions against four individuals considered a threat to the region.
In a resolution favored by 12 Members of the 15-Member Council, with three abstaining, restrictions were placed on the assets and international travel of Major General Gaffar Mohamed Elhassan, Commander of the Western Military Region for the Sudanese Air Force.
The measures were also directed at Adam Yacub Shant, Commander of the Sudanese Liberation Army rebel group; Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, the Field Commander of another rebel group, the National Movement for Reform; and Sheikh Musa Hilal, the Paramount Chief of the Jalul Tribe in North Darfur.
In a separate statement read out by the Council's April President, Wang Guangya of China, the body urged that the talks taking place in Abuja, Nigeria meet the African Union's 30 April deadline for a peace deal for Darfur.
Sanctions have been the subject of much debate in the Council since fighting flared again earlier this year in Darfur, where over 180,000 people have already died and millions have been displaced. In December, 2005, the Council imposed an arms embargo on Sudan and paved the way for targeted sanctions against individuals.
At the time, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States said the purpose of the targeted sanctions mechanism “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 to restore the deteriorating security situation there.”
Today, the representatives of the three countries that abstained from voting on sanctions – China, the Russian Federation and Qatar – said that the measures would have a negative impact on the Abuja peace negotiations, which are in their final, critical week before the African Union deadline.
Both in the Sudanese context and in broader terms, said representative Konstantin Dolgov of the Russian Federation, the implementation of sanctions should be closely linked with the task of assisting and facilitating the resolution of the conflict and ensuring regional stability – not disrupting peace negotiations at such a critical time.
In a third action on the region today, the Council echoed Secretary-General Kofi Annan's previously expressed deep concerns over the instability along Chad's border with Sudan and over the situation of refugees from Darfur and the Central African Republic as well as internally displaced persons in Chad.
The body called on all States in the region to cooperate on preserving their common stability, urging Sudan and Chad to abide their obligations under recent agreements and “refrain from any actions that violate the border.”