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Last Updated: Monday, 9 August, 2004, 16:28 GMT 17:28 UK
Sudan rejects AU peace force
Jem rebels
The government have been trying to crush Darfur rebel groups
Sudan has rejected African Union proposals to deploy more than 2,000 troops in the Darfur region to prevent further conflict.

Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said the "security of Darfur is the responsibility of Sudan alone".

His comments came ahead of an AU meeting to discuss beefing up the 300-strong observer force.

Sudan is warning it will not be able to comply with a UN demand to disarm the Janjaweed militia by the end of August.

Earlier, the Arab League opposed the idea of sanctions or international military intervention as a response to the Darfur crisis.

They called on the UN to give Sudan more time to resolve the conflict.

A European Union fact-finding mission to Sudan has criticised the government in Khartoum, but said that there was no evidence of genocide.

"It is clear there is widespread, silent and slow killing going on, and village burning of a fairly large scale," said Pieter Feith, an adviser to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.


On Sunday, Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Taha said he thought the UN's end-of-August deadline was impractical.

Refugees from Darfur pump water across the border in Chad
The UN says Darfur is the world's worst humanitarian crisis
He told the BBC's Hard Talk television programme that Khartoum was committed to disarming all militia forces in Darfur.

He said 6,000 Sudanese police and government troops were currently in Darfur, and there were plans to expand the force to 12,000.

"We are really committed to disarm whoever is acting outside the law," he said, adding that comprehensive stability was only possible if both the Arab Janjaweed militia and rebel groups disarmed.

But he added that logistical problems were hampering deployment, which meant that fully disarming the Arab Janjaweed militia, and other forces, by the end of August would not be possible.

"We cannot have comprehensive stability without disarming both sides."

No surprises

On 30 July, a UN resolution gave Sudan 30 days to bring Arab militia under control or face international action.

More than one million people have fled their homes in a crisis exacerbated by the pro-government Janjaweed militia.

1m displaced
Up to 50,000 killed
More at risk from disease and starvation
Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing
Sudan blames rebels for starting conflict

UN aid officials in Darfur have warned of severe outbreaks of disease in refugee camps for displaced people.

Sudan's government has said it is ready to resume peace talks with two rebel groups in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on 23 August.

Khatoum has denied it supports the militia and has angrily rejected the threat of foreign intervention, trying to draw parallels with the invasion of Iraq which was opposed by many Arab countries.

The BBC's David Chazan
"The Arab League... wants the Sudanese government to be given more time to act"

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