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Sudan Tribune

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EU to step up pressure on Sudan for peace

BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) – European Union foreign ministers agreed on Monday to increase pressure on the Sudanese government and militias to end fighting in the Darfur region, which has sent more than one million people fleeing.

The 25-nation bloc called for the disarmament of militias, demanded full access for humanitarian workers and threatened unspecified measures if the situation did not improve.

“If these demands for the improvement of the conditions on the ground and the protection of civilians being exposed to death, atrocities and starvation, are not met within the near future, the EU will consider taking further measures,” the ministers said in a statement.

The conflict pitting black Africans against Sudanese government forces and Arab militiamen, known as Janjaweed, has forced more than one million people to flee to other parts of Sudan and driven more than 150,000 into neighbouring Chad.

With support from Sudan’s military, the Janjaweed are accused of burning villages, kidnapping and enslaving children, systematically raping women and contaminating water sources.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has promised to disarm militias, send police to Darfur to protect civilians, begin political talks with rebels and provide access for international aid agencies.

African nations are trying to put together a peace mission to stop the conflict in Darfur, where the United Nations says the world’s worst humanitarian crisis is unfolding.

Between 10,000 and 30,000 people are estimated to have died in Darfur so far, U.N. officials say. At least one million people have been forced out of their villages into barren camps, desperate for food, and more than 150,000 Darfur refugees have fled into neighbouring Chad.

The European Commission also set aside 18 million euros ($22 million) in humanitarian aid on Monday for the two million people affected by the fighting.

The EU executive said 10 million euros would be spent on displaced people within the western Darfur region while the balance would be devoted to Sudanese refugees in Chad.

((Reporting by Marie-Louise Moller and Aine Gallagher, editing by Andrea Gerlin))