LONDON, July 21 (AFP) — British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged Wednesday he would “keep up pressure” on Sudan to take action towards ending the bloody conflict in its western region of Darfur.
Blair additionally promised to keep in close touch with Washington and the United Nations over events in Darfur, where at least 10,000 people are estimated to have died since conflict erupted in February 2003.
“The key things now are, first of all, to make sure that whatever aid is given, it goes through to the people who need it most,” Blair told parliament in answer to a question on the issue.
“Secondly, to keep up pressure on the government of the Sudan to make sure that they are dealing with the real problems that are giving rise to the violence and the ethnic cleansing.
“And we continue to put as much pressure as we possibly can on them to do that, along with the United States,” he said.
Quizzed on whether more international troops or monitors were needed for Darfur, Blair said he had talked twice with UN General Secretary Kofi Annan about the issue.
“We will continue to work with the UN and other countries which are involved in this, we will continue to monitor the situation very carefully and we rule absolutely nothing out in this situation,” he said.
On Monday, rights group Amnesty International accused the Sudanese government of being directly responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur, including the widespread rape of women.