Berlin says Sudan is not keeping its promise

14th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 July 2004 , KHARTOUM - Sudan is not keeping its pledge to disarm militias that have terrorized the civilian population in Darfur, Kerstin Mueller, minister of state in the German foreign ministry, said after visiting a refugee camp. "It is obvious that the fighting is continuing," Mueller told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa after a visit to the Kalma refugee camp where 50,000 people are living without basic medical care. She said the stream of refugees continues. Mueller also said there had been an improve

14 July 2004

KHARTOUM - Sudan is not keeping its pledge to disarm militias that have terrorized the civilian population in Darfur, Kerstin Mueller, minister of state in the German foreign ministry, said after visiting a refugee camp.

"It is obvious that the fighting is continuing," Mueller told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa after a visit to the Kalma refugee camp where 50,000 people are living without basic medical care. She said the stream of refugees continues.

Mueller also said there had been an improvement in access to humanitarian aid, but the security situation is now the main problem.

"The refugees are afraid," she said, a clear indication that the government is not abiding by its agreement with the United Nations to disarm the militias known as "Janjaweed".

More than 1 million people have been driven from their homes in western Sudan in recent months following a rebel uprising that was subdued by the government-backed "Janjaweed" militias.

Since then the Arab Janjaweed groups have been blamed for terrorising the civilian population in the region, prompting accusations from the international community that Khartoum is not doing enough to control the militias.

Mueller accompanied German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on a trip to Sudan that began Sunday. Fischer was in Khartoum to pressure the Sudanese government to fulfil pledges designed to end the conflict in the Darfur region of the country.

The refugees have told of bombings, Mueller said, indicating that the attacks are still backed by Khartoum. If the statements of the refugees that the Janjaweed have been integrated into the army and the police, then the international community "is being led around by its nose".

Mueller's visit to Kalma on Tuesday was the first by a high-ranking member of the German government to the region.

U.N. officials have called Darfur the world's worst humanitarian crisis and Secretary General Kofi Annan, who visited the region a week ago, described the situation as horrific.

DPA

Subject: German news

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