Yemen urges countries to assist Sudan [Archives:2004/761/Front Page]

August 5 2004

By Peter Willems
Yemen Times Staff

The Yemeni government encouraged other countries to support Sudan to increase security and bring stability to its western Darfur region.
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi called on the world to “help Sudan achieve the needed steps and not limit its role to only demanding that Sudan quickly restore security and stability in Darfur.”
The Foreign Minster's announcement came during his meeting with a delegation from the European Parliament last Sunday in Sana'a.
Al-Qirbi's remarks came after the UN Security Council passed a resolution last Friday that put pressure on the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjaweed militias within 30 days.
Sudan rejected the 30-day deadline and claimed the resolution was merely a step towards a United States invasion.
“The Security Council's resolution about the Darfur issue is a declaration of war on the Sudan and its people,” said a Sudanese General Mohamed Beshir Suleiman. “The Sudanese army is now prepared to confront the enemies of the Sudan on land, sea and air.”
The Sudanese government holds that it will stick to the agreement it made with Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, last month in which the government would be allowed to disarm the militias in three months.
“The Council of Ministers condemned the time period and views it to be illogical and difficult to implement, especially since the agreement we reached with the United Nations gave a 90-day implementation period,” said Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail after a Cabinet meeting last Sunday.
Under pressure from members of the Security Council, the United States dropped the word “sanctions” from the resolution; economic and diplomatic “measures” will be taken if Sudan does not follow through.
Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria's President and Chairman of the African Union, traveled to Khartoum, Sudan's capital, to discuss a solution to the ongoing violence. The African Union is putting together plans to send a peacekeeping force to Sudan.
The Arab militias are accused of killing over 30,000 and driving at least one 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 have looted their villages during assaults.
According to World Vision, an Australian aid organization, refugees fleeing their villages continued this week and camps have continued to receive people beyond capacity.
The Arab League has expressed opposition to the UN resolution. “Many would say that the US administration, as well as some European countries, have found in the Darfur crisis a long sought pretext to put the government under the sword of international sanctions,” said Arab League spokesman Hossam Zaki.
Zaki accused Australia, which is considering sending in troops, of working with double standards on human rights: Australia, along with the United States, voted against the UN General Assembly resolution to order Israel to pull down the wall it is building in the West Bank.
The British and Australian governments have said that they are ready to send troops if necessary to stabilize the Darfur region, while the US government said that it is too early to discuss sending in soldiers.
According to an analyst in Yemen, the most important thing to do is to find a solution and end the violence in the Darfur area.
“It seems that there are a lot of parties now involved in this, but while there are accusations, people are still suffering,” said the analyst. “The best thing is for a solution to be found.”
In June, the Yemeni government said that it would be willing to send troops to Sudan as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force if the Sudanese government had reached a peace deal with the Sudan People's Liberation Army.
Last Monday, Al-Qirbi headed for Khartoum for the Yemeni-Sudanese joint ministerial committee to discuss economic, health and education cooperation between the two countries.