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Last Updated: Friday, 9 July, 2004, 12:52 GMT 13:52 UK
Sudan warns US against 'new Iraq'
Darfur refugee making bricks
There is not enough food, water or medicines in Darfur's refugee camps
Sudan has warned the United States against creating another Iraq-style situation by getting too involved in the Darfur conflict.

Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said that sanctions would worsen the crisis.

The UN Security Council has this week been debating a US draft resolution to impose sanctions on the Arab militia accused of widespread atrocities.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell said that Sudan had "days" to stop the violence or face possible sanctions.

Some one million people have fled their homes and at least 10,000 killed since two rebel groups took up arms last year.

We want to see dramatic improvements on the ground right now
Colin Powell

Mr Ismail warned "those voices which have drawn the world to the Iraq war not to take it to a new war which it will be difficult to disengage from," in an interview with Sudan's Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper.

The draft resolution includes sanctions against leaders of the Arab Janjaweed militia, which could be widened to include members of the government, which is accused of backing them.

Mr Ismail said these sanctions risked "weakening the credibility of agreements" made with Mr Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the Sudan government to disarm the Janjaweed.

France opposes sanctions

Mr Powell on Thursday said that Sudan had not delivered on its pledge.

"President Bush, the United States Congress, Secretary General Annan and the international community want more than promises," he said.


"We want to see dramatic improvements on the ground right now," he added.

France has also said it does not support extending the sanctions to the Khartoum government itself.

The Security Council met in closed session for several hours on Wednesday and the draft resolution was again discussed on Thursday.

Council members also disagree over how long the Sudanese government should be given to resolve the situation itself.

The US draft resolution threatens to escalate the sanctions within 30 days if results are not evident.

But some countries say that Sudan should be allowed more time.

Resources

Earlier on Thursday, African leaders meeting in Addis Ababa decided that a protection force they agreed to send would defend Darfur civilians, as well as guard African Union ceasefire observers.

Pro-Sudanese government militiaman
Janjaweed militiamen are accused of ethnic cleansing
The Chairman of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, said the 300 troops would arrive in Sudan by the end of July.

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips says the union is determined to be taken seriously as a body devoted to solving the continent's problems, but is severely hampered by a lack of resources.

Analysts say that at least 15,000 peacekeepers would be needed in the vast arid areas of Darfur.

African leaders say they hope richer countries will also do their bit to help.

Human rights activists say the Janjaweed are conducting a genocide against Darfur's black African population - although the UN and member states have refrained from using the word.

A rebellion broke out in Darfur early last year, when two groups took up arms, accusing the government of ignoring the region.

Those who have fled their homes say the Janjaweed ride on horses and camels into villages which have just been bombed by government aircraft, killing the men and raping the women.




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