Fischer pleads foraction on Darfur

26th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 July 2004, BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday urged joint international pressure on Sudan, saying the United Nations must take the lead in stopping the bloodshed in Darfur.

26 July 2004

BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Monday urged joint international pressure on Sudan, saying the United Nations must take the lead in stopping the bloodshed in Darfur.

"We need a common approach," Fischer told reporters as European Union foreign ministers discussed whether Sudan should face sanctions over its failure to stop the violence in Darfur.

An EU statement on Darfur to be issued later Monday said the 25 nation bloc would take "appropriate further steps" if Khartoum failed to keep its pledge of disarming the marauding Arab Janjaweed militia accused of killing thousands of people in the region.

"They have to be stopped," Fischer said, adding: "Sudan has to deliver on its promises."

"The situation is very serious. We need to look at further measures," Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner told reporters.

The EU did not set any deadlines, however, or repeat recent accusations of genocide levelled against the Sudanese government by the US Senate and House of Representatives.

EU diplomats said the bloc was drawing up a list of Janjaweed militia leaders responsible for the Darfur massacres, with the Sudanese government being pressed to arrest them and bring them to justice.

The EU statement underlined European governments, "alarm" at reports of massive human rights violations by the Janjaweed militia, "including the systematic rape of women."

Dutch Foreign Minister and current Council chairman Bernard Bot warned last week that the EU may be ready to impose sanctions against Khartoum.

"If the situation doesn't improve quickly, sanctions by the international community will inevitably follow", Bot said after a meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail in Brussels last week.

Ismail also met EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana who urged the government to arrest leaders of the ethnic Arab Janjaweed. The militia's victims are largely black Africans. But Khartoum denies it controls the pro-government Janjaweed force.

Brussels is urging a restart of peace talks in Ethiopia after a break down last week. The EU also wants humanitarian aid agencies to be given immediate access to the region.

Separately, EU ministers are focusing on efforts to clinch a new World Trade Organization (WTO) trade deal as talks on a new liberalisation pact enter a crucial phase in Geneva.

However, EU unity in the so-called Doha trade round has been damaged by French criticism of recent efforts by EU trade chief Pascal Lamy to open up the bloc's farm sector.

The EU meeting comes ahead of a last-ditch session of the WTO's executive General Council in Geneva opening on Tuesday.

EU ministers are reviewing relations with Israel following last week's decision by the 25 nation bloc to back a United Nations resolution condemning Israel's construction of a so-called security fence on Palestinian territories.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has warned that the EU vote damages the bloc's role as Middle East peace broker.

But EU foreign and security chief Javier Solana who was in Israel last week said while the Union backed Israel's right to security and self- defence, the barrier broke international law by snaking deep into occupied territory in some areas, incorporating dozens of Jewish settlements.

DPA

Subject: German news

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