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Sudan Tribune

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Protest at EU headquarters to urge action on Darfur

Jan 21, 2007 (BRUSSELS) — About 500 demonstrators formed a human chain around the E.U. headquarters Sunday calling on European Union foreign ministers to take urgent action to prevent further bloodshed in Darfur.

People_demonstrate_EU.jpgBelgian Senator Alain Destexhe, who was joined by other Belgian politicians and members of the European Parliament at the protest, said a meeting of E.U. foreign ministers Monday needed to take concrete measures to force Sudanese and rebel forces to adhere to a cease-fire.

“We want tougher action by the E.U. and by the United Nations,” Destexhe said. “Darfur is the major tragedy…We think the E.U. is not doing enough.”

Destexhe called for the 27-nation bloc to push for a no-fly zone over Darfur.

Sudanese rebel leaders said government aircraft bombed wide areas of northern Darfur Sunday, breaching a cease-fire.

The E.U. foreign ministers were expected to issue a statement at their talks to condemn the latest cease-fire violations in Darfur and to denounce the bombing of villages in North Darfur over past weeks. They were also to support U.N. efforts to sway Khartoum to expand the current African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Senior E.U. diplomats said Friday the E.U. ministers would also try to find money to help finance the current African peacekeeping mission in Sudan. They said $211 million was needed to finance reinforcement troops if Khartoum accepts international demands that the force be expanded.

Monica Frassoni, co-leader of the Green Party in the European Parliament, called on the E.U. to try to persuade China and Russia not to support Sudan. “The real problem is what to do with governments that support Sudan,” she said after Sunday’s rally.

The E.U., the U.N. and the U.S. are increasingly frustrated in efforts to stop the fighting and killing in Darfur which U.S. officials call genocide.

Violence has worsened since a peace deal was signed last May and the Sudanese government refuses to let in a new 22,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping force to aid an overwhelmed African force, which was approved by the U.N. Security Council last year.

European diplomats estimate between 200,000 and 400,000 people have been killed during the conflict.

Sudan has been repeatedly accused of bombing civilians in rebel-controlled zones dropping crude explosives onto villages, with little military effect but causing damage. They are also accused of arming the janjaweed militias who are blamed for the worst atrocities in the conflict.


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