Sudan's militia must be disarmed - there are 'no excuses', says Annan

Sudan has been warned that there can be "no confusion or no excuses" for not quickly bringing to a close the murderous outrages carried out by government-backed militias in the northern Darfur region.

And while there has been progress on humanitarian access to remote Darfur, Khartoum has “much more” to do on improving security for the 1.2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have gathered in over 100 makeshift camps across the region, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said.

The Secretary-General stressed that last week’s Council resolution required the Sudanese authorities to do no more than meet the pledges it has already made.

“They should be able to take steps to calm the situation, to stop the attacks, to protect the people, and continue the disarmament. And there should be no confusion or no excuses,” he warned.

The Council gave the government 30 days to show it was taking action on the commitments or face potential sanctions.

Mr Annan said: “The Council made it clear that if they fail to perform there will be consequences, and I hope that, if they do fail to perform, all the Council Members will be ready to act.”

A large public protest in Khartoum yesterday against the UN was not unexpected, Mr Annan said. “Sometimes governments use demonstrations to put pressure on the UN and to send a message to the international community,” he told reporters.

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, said that while the demonstration in Khartoum was not violent, it was “not making life easy” for UN staff in Sudan.

He said security in the IDP camps had generally improved, apart from a few incidents, but conditions are more dangerous outside the camps.

Mr Pronk, who held talks this week with senior Sudanese officials, said he had asked them to address this problem so that people feel safe when they go to fetch water and firewood.


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