The Arab League opposes the UN threat of sanctions on Sudan [Archives:2004/775/Front Page]

September 23 2004

The Arab League condemned the United Nations Security Council's resolution that threatened possible oil sanctions if the Sudanese government does not take action to bring to an end the crisis in Darfur.
The Arab League warned that potential sanctions would not promote stability in the western Sudanese region, and urged all parties to become involved in negotiations and sign a peace agreement.
“Imposing sanctions will not help resolve the crisis or encourage the parties to try to end it. In fact, it will have the opposite effect,” said Hossam Zaki, spokesman for the Arab League.
Zaki added that it is “important that the international community give the parties enough time to implement their obligations, and work towards getting the sides to resolve the crisis instead engaging in confrontation.”
The Sudanese government agreed to follow the US-sponsored resolution drafted by the UN Security Council, but called the UN decision “unfair.”
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir, Sudan's Parliamentary Speaker, warned that other countries should not intervene in Sudan's affairs.
“If Iraq opened for the West one gate to hell, we will open seven such gates,” said Al-Tahir. “We will not surrender this country to anybody.”
The resolution, which was passed by the Security Council earlier this week, said that the Sudanese government had not done enough to bring security to the people in Darfur. It also called on UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, to put together a commission to investigate human rights abuses and the possibility of genocide carried out in the area.
“We act today because the government of Sudan has failed to fully comply with the previous resolution adopted July 30th” said US Ambassador John Danforth, “The crisis in Darfur is uniquely grave. It is the largest humanitarian disaster in the world.”
The resolution drafted last month put pressure on the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militias within 30 days.
The current resolution was passed after peace talks, that lasted three weeks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels, ended without success last Friday.
The resolution was passed 11 to 0, with China, Russia, Algeria and Pakistan abstaining from the vote.
China's UN Ambassador Wang Guangya said, “We should increase humanitarian assistance to Darfur rather than create a situation that could lead to the closing of the door to relief and assistance.”
Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, are accused of killing over 50,000 and driving around 1.4 million people from their villages since fighting began 18 months ago in the Darfur area. Refugees have reported that the Janjaweed fighters have slaughtered men, raped women, and looted their villages during their assaults.
Up to now, the Yemeni government has not commented on the possible sanctions against Sudan.
Last month, Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi asked the international community to “help Sudan achieve the needed steps and not limit its role to only demanding that Sudan quickly restore security and stability in Darfur.”
“What is most important is for the crisis in Darfur to end and bring stability,” said a Yemeni analyst. “But it looks like it is now a struggle between world powers.”
The UN Security Council also called on the African Union to send in 3,000 monitors and soldiers to end ongoing strife and investigate human rights abuses.
Last June, the Yemeni government offered to send troops to Sudan as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force when there was a possibility of a peace deal being reached between the Sudanese government and rebels in the Darfur region.
Production of oil in Sudan is around 300,000 barrels a day and it is believed that oil exports can pull in around $2 billion this year.