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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 04:00 GMT 05:00 UK
Sudan grudgingly accepts UN vote
Refugee girls in Darfur, Sudan
Sudan is threatened with sanctions if it does not protect civilians
Sudan has confirmed that it will comply with a new UN Security Council resolution on ending the conflict in the western region of Darfur.

However ministers on Sunday condemned the threat of sanctions contained in the resolution as "unfair".

Sudan's ambassador to the UK told the BBC that the UN vote sent the "wrong message" to the rebels.

The resolution calls for an end to killings in Darfur, where non-Arabs have been targeted by militias.

The US-sponsored resolution - approved on Saturday - asks UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to set up a commission to investigate whether the violence amounts to genocide.

It also threatens measures against Sudan's oil industry, if Khartoum fails to carry out its pledge to disarm the militias.

If Iraq opened one gate of hell for the West, we will open seven of its gates.
Ahmad Ibrahim al-Tahir
Sudan's parliamentary speaker
More than a million black Africans have been driven from their homes in Darfur, where two rebel groups emerged in early 2003.

The government denies backing the militiamen.

After Sunday's cabinet meeting, Vice-President Ali Osman Taha said Sudan was committed to implementing the resolution and to improving "the humanitarian and security situation".

However he said the vote was "unfair" and contradicted the African Union's efforts to resolve the issue "in an African context".

Stalled talks

In London, Sudanese Ambassador Hassan Abdin also criticised security council members.

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

"By threatening sanctions in other parts of the resolution they are just sending the wrong message to the rebels - they will not negotiate in good faith," he told the BBC's Newshour programme.

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel groups from Darfur ended without agreement on Friday.

The rebels refused to sign an accord on greater access for aid agencies, saying pro-government militias must lay down their weapons first.

Sudan's parliamentary speaker Ahmad Ibrahim al-Tahir warned against intervention in his country, saying: "If Iraq opened one gate of hell for the West, we will open seven of its gates. We will not surrender this country."

The BBC's Africa editor Grant Ferrett says the resolution contains tough language, but does not impose a deadline for compliance.

However, diplomats say the manoeuvring at the Security Council has kept the spotlight on Sudan, and maintained the pressure on Khartoum to fulfil its promises to end the violence in Darfur.

The scrutiny continues this week during a visit by UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour.

She will hold talks with government officials and meet displaced people and aid workers in Darfur.

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

The BBC's Adam Mynott
"Civilians are still fleeing fighting and violence committed by militia groups"

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