Sudan reiterates rejection of UN peacekeepers

Sudan’s ruling party has rejected as unacceptable a draft United Nations resolution on the deployment of UN peacekeepers to the strife-torn region of Darfur and issued a sharp warning to its sponsors, the United States and Britain.

“The draft resolution is worse than previous ones as it is an attempt to impose complete tutelage on the Sudan,” National Congress Party chairperson Ghazi Salah Eldin Atabani was quoted as saying after a meeting on Wednesday.

“Any state that sponsors this draft resolution will be regarded as assuming a hostile attitude against the Sudan,” said the official, describing the draft as “unacceptable and not negotiable under any sort of pressure”.

The US and Britain submitted the draft resolution to the UN Security Council last week despite threats by the central Sudanese government to attack any UN troops who go to the area.

The proposed UN force would take over from the ill-equipped and under-funded African Union mission, which has proved unable to prevent killings, rape and internal displacement of civilians in the region.

The UN Security Council is due to hold a meeting on the tense situation in Darfur next Monday.

Two AU peacekeepers from Rwanda were killed on Saturday in an ambush by unidentified gunmen, fuelling US calls for a more robust UN force to take over from the embattled African contingent.

“This violence is another indication of the lack of security that exists in Darfur, which continues to result in the deaths of innocent civilians and aid workers and hinders the distribution of life-saving humanitarian assistance to areas of Darfur,” US State Department spokesperson Gonzalo Gallegos said.

“Only a large, mobile, fast-reacting and robust UN force, with AU forces forming its core and [including] Africans in key leadership positions, is capable of stopping the fighting,” he said.

But Sudan has refused to budge and the plan it submitted to the UN earlier this month is believed to involve its own troops rather than a UN force.

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir has warned that Darfur—an area the size of France that has been torn by deadly violence for three-and-a-half years—would become the “graveyard” of Western troops.

Al-Beshir has repeatedly accused Washington and other Western powers of furthering imperialist plans in Darfur and the recent Israeli offensive in Lebanon only appears to consolidate his opposition to a UN deployment.

“What is presently happening in Lebanon is a repetition of what has happened in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq and what is planned to happen in Darfur and in east Sudan,” he said earlier this month.

His regime and its proxy pro-Arab militias stand accused by the US of genocide in Darfur, where the combined effect of war and famine have left at least 300 000 people dead and 2,4-million displaced.—Sapa-AFP

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