Dutch FM rejects calls forUN sanctions against Sudan

26th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 July 2004 , AMSTERDAM — As European Union ministers gathered for a meeting on Monday, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has said it is too early for United Nations sanctions to be imposed on Sudan, despite the continuing ethnic violence in the Darfur region of the African state.

26 July 2004

AMSTERDAM — As European Union ministers gathered for a meeting on Monday, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot has said it is too early for United Nations sanctions to be imposed on Sudan, despite the continuing ethnic violence in the Darfur region of the African state.

Bot met in The Hague on Saturday with his Sudanese counterpart Moustapha Osmane Ismail and acknowledged that the situation had improved in Darfur, but claimed it was still unsatisfactory. Despite this, he said UN sanctions would not achieve anything.

And even though UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan indicated late last week that he expected the UN Security Council to pass a US-sponsored resolution over Darfur, the foreign minister also said he did not expect that the resolution would be approved.

Up to 50,000 have been killed and about a million have fled their homes in the face of ethnic and religious violence in Darfur. Pro-government Arab militias — Janjaweed — are accused of ethnic cleansing and the UN says food, water and medicines are running low in refugee camps, BBC reported.

Bot said his discussion with Ismail strengthened his confidence in the Sudanese government's efforts to end the crisis in the Darfur region — which the UN has described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis at present. But he added the country was being judged on definite results.

With the Netherlands currently holding the rotating EU Presidency, Bot will urge European colleagues in Brussels on Monday that a strong warning should be issued to Sudan, Dutch news agency ANP reported.

"If the situation does not noticeably improve, further sanctions by the international community are almost certain," he said.

But Ismail dismissed the tough talk and said his country had made agreements with the UN three weeks ago about humanitarian assistance, human rights and security.

A rebel group in Darfur has demanded a rapid deployment of international peacekeeping troops, but it is not yet clear if the international community will provide military forces.

The secretary general of Sudan's ruling National Congress party, Ibrahim Ahmed Omar, warned on Sunday his party would use force against any outside military intervention. Sudan has also warned the US against becoming embroiled in another "Iraq-style" crisis.

But as concerns mount, the US Congress has claimed genocide is being committed in Darfur, calling on President George Bush to lead intervention efforts. But the sending of troops has not yet been discussed, Radio Netherlands reported.

Meanwhile, Ismail rejected the genocide claims and pointed out that observers from the African Union had passed a resolution stating that genocide was not being carried out.

But the UN claims up to 50,000 might have been killed in the Darfur region and has warned that serious human rights violations are being committed.

In other news, Dutch Overseas Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne said it is not yet necessary to increase humanitarian aid funding in Darfur, but urged Ismail to give aid workers better access to the crisis region.

She also urged Sudan to arrest the leaders of the militias responsible for the violence and despite the fact that access for aid workers has improved of late, greater liberties were necessary to get aid work actually working on the ground.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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