UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (AFP) — The United States said it plans to put forward a new UN Security Council resolution aimed at pressing Sudan to bring an end to the bloodshed and suffering in Darfur.
US envoy Stuart Holliday declined to give any details about the measure, as the United States has struggled to muster up support for sanctions against Khartoum over Darfur, seen as the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.
The Security Council passed a resolution at the end of July giving the government of Sudan 30 days to disarm and rein in the Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, behind a brutal crackdown on black Africans in the Darfur region.
That measure left open the door for sanctions but there is little appetite for them on the 15-nation council, and the UN’s Sudan envoy Jan Pronk on Monday said it was “not yet time” to take such a step.
Instead, an international consensus has emerged in favour of beefing up the number of African Union (AU) monitors in the western Darfur region — which is about the size of France — to ensure Sudan is working to end the crisis.
There are currently some 120 AU observers in the region, protected by around 300 African troops.
“I hope the council will support the need for a larger force to go in there,” said UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who requested the larger monitoring force in a report to the council last week.
“The government must redouble its efforts to protect the population,” he told reporters at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday. “I expect the council to be taking action within the next week and we’ll see where we go from here.”
Holliday said Washington was working on the details of the resolution but did not say if it largely followed Annan’s recommendations.
“We’re working on a draft that we expect to discuss with our council co-sponsors … and then we would go ahead and present the resolution” Wednesday, he said.
An estimated 50,000 people have been killed and 1.4 million have fled their homes in Darfur, where a rebellion against the government that started in February 2003 was suppressed with the help of the Janjaweed.