- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 8, 2004

NEW YORK — The United States yesterday circulated a draft resolution supporting a beefed-up monitoring force for Sudan’s conflict-wracked Darfur region and threatening punitive action against the country’s lucrative oil exports if the government doesn’t act quickly to stop militia attacks and improve security.

The draft, obtained by the Associated Press, says the Sudanese government “has failed fully to comply with its commitments” to the United Nations to rein in Arab militias accused of attacking, raping and killing villagers in western Darfur and to provide security for the more than 1.2 million people who fled their homes.

“The situation in Sudan constitutes a threat to international peace and security and to stability in the region,” it states.

The draft does not refer to “sanctions,” a word that had to be dropped from the resolution adopted by the Security Council on July 30 that gave the government 30 days to halt attacks by pro-government militias, disarm them and bring them to justice.

The new U.S. draft declares that the Security Council will take further action if the government or individual members don’t comply with their commitments to the United Nations — or if they fail to cooperate with a planned African Union (AU) expansion of its monitoring mission in Darfur.

The AU has about 80 military observers in Darfur — a region about the size of France — protected by a little more than 300 soldiers, monitoring a rarely observed cease-fire signed in April by the government and two rebel groups.

U.N. envoy Jan Pronk called on Sudan last week to allow more than 3,000 troops into the region with an expanded monitoring mission that would actively try to prevent violence and mediate to stop the conflict from escalating.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, visiting Tokyo yesterday, said the government has asked the African Union to deploy more monitors “to help in the building of confidence and to supervise the cease-fire.”

The Sudanese government is under intense international pressure to restore calm across the western desert region, where an 18-month conflict has cost the lives of up to 30,000 people and driven more than 1.2 million from their homes.

Mr. Pronk called the situation in Sudan “critical” and said the government “has to be blamed” for failing to stop militia attacks outside designated areas where thousands of Sudanese fleeing the violence have gathered.

The United States drafted its new resolution under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which allows for military enforcement. But the draft refers only to Article 41, which gives the Security Council authority to call for measures “not involving the use of armed force.” It specifies economic, communications and diplomatic actions.

The U.S. draft declares that “the council will take further actions, including measures as provided for in Article 41 … including with regard to the petroleum sector.”

Sudan began exporting oil in 1999 and produces an estimated 250,000 barrels per day.

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