The United States said on Friday it is preparing a new U.N. resolution on Darfur and that Secretary of State Colin Powell might address next week whether the violence in western Sudan constitutes genocide. The State Department declined to detail what may be in any new resolution on Darfur, where U.S. and U.N. officials accuse marauding government-backed militias of "ethnic cleansing" against villagers in a campaign of murder, rape and arson. The U.N. Security Council threatened on July 30 to consider imposing unspecified sanctions on Sudan if it failed within 30 days to disarm and prosecute the Janjaweed militias accused of much of the violence. U.S. officials this week played down the idea of sanctions, which are supported only by the council's European members like Britain, France and Germany, but said they want to ratchet up pressure on the Khartoum government to stop the violence. The violence began after a revolt broke out in early 2003 among Darfur villagers who speak African languages. Khartoum turned to the existing Janjaweed militias, drawn from the nomadic Arab population, to help suppress the rebels, reports Reuters. According to BBC, Sudan's foreign minister says the government will not accept U.N. peacekeepers in the Darfur region. About 50,000 people have been killed in the area in the past 18 months and 1 million have become refugees, most of them driven from their homes by the Arab militias. U.N. Envoy Jan Pronk told the government he does not believe that 3,000 soldiers supplied by the African Union will be a large enough force to restore security in Darfur. "First, it has not been able to stop attacks by militias, nor to disarm these militias," Pronk said. "Second, no concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice or even to identify any of the militia's leaders or the perpetrators of these attacks." John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, argues that the Sudanese government continues to work with the Janjaweek militia and says refugees will not trust a government that is tied to the atrocities. An estimated 50,000 black Africans have been killed and 1.2 million have been displaced by marauding Arab Janjaweed militias armed and encouraged by the Sudanese government. The United Nation has characterized the campaign of raping women, razing villages, destroying crops and poisoning water supplies as ethnic cleansing, and Congress has declared it genocide. A report by Secretary General Kofi Annan on Wednesday used the term "scorched-earth policy." In a sternly worded report based on the findings of Mr. Pronk, Mr. Annan said that attacks against civilians were continuing, that a vast majority of militias had not been disarmed and that "no concrete steps have been taken to bring to justice or even identify any of the militia leaders or perpetrators of these attacks, allowing the violations of human rights and the basic laws of war to continue in a climate of impunity." At the United Nations, the United States has taken the lead in pressing reluctant members of the Security Council to act on the Sudan crisis, and on Thursday Ambassador John C. Danforth, formerly President Bush's special envoy to Sudan, complained that Mr. Pronk was too easy on the Sudanese government. "The fact of the matter is that the government of Sudan has been directly involved in military action against civilian villages in Darfur, including within the last week, and it's just important to set that straight," Mr. Danforth said. Mr. Pronk, he said, was "flat-out wrong" not to have made that point, publishes the NYTimes.
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