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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 March, 2005, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
UN imposes sanctions over Darfur
A girl drinks water in Darfur refugee camp
Several hundred thousand could have died in Darfur
The UN Security Council has voted to apply sanctions on those who commit atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region.

The US-drafted resolution, which passed 12-0 with abstentions from Russia, China and Algeria, is also aimed at strengthening an arms embargo on Sudan.

A travel ban and an asset freeze will be imposed on those who hamper the peace process in Darfur.

A French move to hold a vote to have Darfur war crime suspects tried in The Hague has been put back until Thursday.

But the US strongly opposes the new International Criminal Court, and there are fears it might decide to veto the resolution sponsored by France - a controversial move that might prove politically damaging.

Peacekeepers

The US resolution passed on Tuesday entails that Sudanese authorities must inform the Security Council if they intend to send military equipment to Darfur.
We don't like the council to take a series of resolutions that are not wise and might make this situation worse
Elfatih Mohammed Erwa, Sudan's ambassador to the UN

In a separate development, British MPs have criticised previous death toll estimates for the war-torn region.

They decried the international response to the genocide as "scandalously ineffective", and warned that the death toll might reach 400,000 - five times more than previously estimated by the World Health Organization.

"We are pleased that 12 members of the council voted to adopt this resolution," said US envoy Stuart Holliday.

"We hope it will put the appropriate pressure on all the parties to the Darfur conflict to end this tragic chapter."

Criticism

But Sudan's ambassador to the UN, Elfatih Mohammed Erwa, fiercely criticised the sanctions and accused the US Congress of ignoring or not understanding Sudan's history and culture.
"We don't like the council to take a series of resolutions that are not wise and might make this situation worse," he said.

The sanctions are due to come into effect in 30 days to allow a Security Council committee to draft a list of offenders.

Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously approved to deploy some 10,000 peacekeepers to southern Sudan, where peace appears to have been largely restored.

The soldiers will monitor January's peace deal ending a 21-year civil war between Khartoum and southern rebels in which some two million people are estimated to have died.




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