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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK
Sudan rejects Darfur peace force
Displaced people in northern Darfur
The fate of thousands of homeless people hangs on a security deal
Sudan will not accept a peacekeeping force in the troubled Darfur region but may agree to extra monitors being deployed, its foreign minister says.

Mustafa Osman Ismail was reacting to a suggestion from a UN envoy that several thousand military observers were urgently needed to improve security.

Jan Pronk did not specify, but said the 3,000 troops which the African Union (AU) is considering were "not enough."

On Thursday, the UN Security Council discussed Darfur. No action was agreed.

Deadlock

The BBC's Ishbel Matheson in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, says the government will be relieved to have seen off the immediate threat of international sanctions.

But the United States is pressing for sanctions against Khartoum, insisting that it is still backing Arab militias.

DARFUR CONFLICT
map
More than 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

Up to 50,000 people have been killed in the 18-month conflict and more than a million have fled their homes.

Some 300 AU troops are in Darfur to monitor a shaky ceasefire and Nigeria is planning to send another 1,500.

Many non-Arab refugees say their villages were attacked by Janjaweed militias, working with government security forces.

Such joint attacks have continued in the past week, said US ambassador to the UN John Danforth, citing a report from AU military observers.

"If the job of providing security is provided exclusively by people who have been dropping bombs on the people of Darfur, the people of Darfur are going to say: 'What kind of protection is this?'" he said.

Presenting a UN report on Darfur to the Security Council, Mr Pronk also urged Sudan to accept extra monitors.

Sudan insists that the extra police officers it has sent to Darfur will protect civilians.

It denies arming the Janjaweed and blames the violence on two Darfur rebel groups which took up arms last year.

Peace talks between the rebels and the government in Nigeria are deadlocked over disarmament and other security issues, the rebels say.

Sanctions

At the end of July, the UN called on Sudan to rein in the Janjaweed or face unspecified measures.

Amid argument among member states over whether Khartoum should face sanctions, the organisation gave itself 30 days to report on the situation.

No concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice or even identify any of the militia leaders
UN report
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Mr Pronk told the council the authorities had fulfilled a commitment to deploy extra police and improve security in some areas, but had not met its commitments in two respects:

"First, it has not been able to stop attacks by militias, nor to disarm these militias.

"Second, no concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice or even to identify any of the militia's leaders or the perpetrators of these attacks."

The report, prepared by Mr Pronk on behalf of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, does not mention sanctions but Mr Danforth said they remain "on the table".




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BC's Ishbil Matheson
"Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have been driven out of their homes"



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