Germany pressures Sudan to act in Darfur crisis

13th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 July 2004 , KHARTOUM - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer this week urged the Sudanese government to disarm marauding Arab militias which have killed thousands and displaced several 100,000 other black villagers in the country's Darfur region. Fischer was speaking during a visit to Khartoum where he held talks with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail, Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir and Deputy President Ali Osman Taha. The talks had been "serious and very open" Fischer said dur

13 July 2004

KHARTOUM - German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer this week urged the Sudanese government to disarm marauding Arab militias which have killed thousands and displaced several 100,000 other black villagers in the country's Darfur region.

Fischer was speaking during a visit to Khartoum where he held talks with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail, Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir and Deputy President Ali Osman Taha.

The talks had been "serious and very open" Fischer said during a joint press conference with Ismael.

However, Darfur was facing a humanitarian disaster and had witnessed "serious violations of human rights", he said.

Khartoum now had to keep its promise to the United Nations to disarm, arrest and pursue the Arab Janjaweed militias in Darfur, protect the region's residents and ensure that aid operations were given access to the troubled region, he said.

In talks with al-Bashir and Taha, Fischer also called for a truce between the warring groups and said he supported a planned 300-strong mission of African Union (A.U.) observers in Darfur.

Ismail said during the press conference the Sudanese government would honour the agreement it had worked out with the United Nations and the United States earlier in the month.

However, Sudan was not afraid of possible UN sanctions, he added, referring to Germany's attempts to reach agreement on a critical resolution on Darfur at the United Nations security council.

Just ahead of Fischer's visit, Ismail had stressed the Sudanese government would not take any advice from Germany about the crisis in Darfur. "We are not prepared to listen to any advice from Germany," Foreign Minister Mustafa Othman Ismail said late Sunday in Khartoum.

His government would be grateful for Fischer's visit if it was intended to offer humanitarian help without pressure or conceit, he had said.

Fischer said during his visit it was not the time to discuss sanctions but the issue was being discussed by the UN security council.

The conflict between the nomadic Janjaweed militias and Darfur's resident black population is centred on water and land as well as the regional oil reserves.

The government has been accused of tolerating and supporting the militia's brutality in the region which was been compared by the UN to a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The humanitarian crisis in Darfur is regarded as increasingly critical since the rainy season has set in the area. Every fourth child in the refugee camps suffers from malnutrition, according to the aid organization Care.

However, aid efforts by international organizations were still being hampered by bureaucracy in Sudan.

During his one-day visit this week Fischer brought medical emergency supplies, sufficient for 40,000 people for one month.

DPA

Subject: German news

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