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Last Updated: Sunday, 19 September, 2004, 00:37 GMT 01:37 UK
UN threatens sanctions on Sudan
Refugee girls in Darfur, Sudan
Sudan is threatened with sanctions if it does not protect civilians
The UN Security Council has approved a resolution threatening sanctions against Sudan if violence continues in the western region of Darfur.

Eleven countries voted in favour and four abstained. None voted against.

The resolution says the council will consider measures, including sanctions affecting Sudan's oil industry, if it fails to carry out its pledges.

More than a million Darfur residents have fled their homes, and thousands are said to be dying every month.

The US-sponsored resolution asks UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a commission to investigate whether the human rights violations amount to genocide.

It also expresses grave concern about the lack of progress in disarming the pro-government Janjaweed militias, which are accused of carrying out widespread killings of non-Arab civilians.

UN RESOLUTION
Enlarged African Union (AU) monitoring force
UN to investigate claims of genocide
Threatens Sudan with oil sanctions if it does not disarm the militias and protect civilians
Sudan to submit the names of militiamen and others arrested for human rights abuses
All Sudanese parties to stop human rights violations

At the end of July the Security Council passed its first resolution on Darfur demanding that Sudan disarm the militias and threatening unspecified action.

China, Russia, Pakistan and Algeria opposed sanctions, saying such moves could push Sudan to withdraw its cooperation with the international community.

But in the end, they abstained, rather than vote against the text.

China had threatened to veto it, and its ambassador to the UN consulted with his US counterpart shortly before the vote.

Sudan's UN envoy said his government would implement the "unfair" resolution despite "the injustices it contains".

Impasse

The vote came as UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour and the UN's special adviser on the prevention of genocide prepared to visit Sudan this weekend.

They will hold talks with government officials and spend a week in Darfur, meeting displaced people and aid workers.

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

Ms Arbour is to assess the crisis, and find out what else the UN can do to protect those driven from their homes.

Her trip comes in the wake of a report by the World Health Organization which revealed that, despite months of international aid in Darfur, the death toll among displaced people is still well above the threshold for a humanitarian emergency.

On Friday peace talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, between the Sudanese government and rebel groups from Darfur ended without agreement.

The rebels refused to sign an accord on greater access for aid agencies, saying security issues had not been resolved.

They accuse the Janjaweed of widespread atrocities and say the militias must lay down their weapons first.

The government says the rebels started the conflict, so they should disarm at the same time. It denies backing the Janjaweed.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Susannah Price
"A commission will decide whether the killings amount to genocide"



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