Home | News    Thursday 22 July 2004

Germany seeks Pakistan’s help on Darfur at UN


Joschka Fischer

ISLAMABAD, July 21 (AFP) — German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said Wednesday he would seek Pakistan’s help at the United Nations in pressing Sudan to stop atrocities in the western Darfur region.

Fischer said he would seek backing at the UN Security Council, where Germany and Pakistan currently hold seats, in putting pressure on Khartoum, during talks Thursday with his counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri and President Pervez Musharraf.

"What we need is a majority on the Security Council and full cooperation above all in establishing security and disarming the Janjaweed militias," Fischer told reporters after arriving in Islamabad.

The Darfur region is in the throes of what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Darfur since rebel groups rose up in February 2003, prompting a brutal response from Sudanese forces and government-sponsored Arab militias known as the Janjaweed.

UN officials say the Janjaweed have carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against black Africans. More than a million people have been displaced in the conflict.

During a visit to Khartoum earlier this month, Fischer warned the Sudanese government that talks on possible UN sanctions would become "much more serious" if the government failed to stop the violence in Darfur.

Fischer, who is on a five-country Asian tour, called on China last week for help in pushing Khartoum to make good on pledges to rein in the militias behind the bloodshed.

Beijing holds one of the UN Security Council’s five permanent seats, each of which has a veto right.

Fischer said other issues on the agenda in Pakistan would be the fight against terrorism, the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, human rights, bilateral economic relations and the state of peace talks with fellow nuclear power India.

He will fly with Kasuri to Pakistan’s second city Lahore Thursday afternoon.

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