New U.N. draft resolution

The United States piled pressure on Sudan Wednesday to accept a more powerful monitoring force in Darfur with a new U.N. draft resolution threatening sanctions on its oil industry. Sudan has said it would accept more observers from the 53-nation African Union (AU) to monitor a cease-fire between the government and rebels in the western region, but not if the mandate was expanded as a U.N. envoy to Sudan has proposed. A U.N. spokeswoman in Sudan, Radhia Achouri, said on Wednesday the United Nations wanted a larger AU force to be deployed in the vast and arid region with a "more robust mandate ... to be everywhere where it should be in all areas." Washington and aid agencies accuse Arab militias of killing, raping and forcing African villagers in Darfur from their homes, in what the United Nations says is the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The official Sudanese news agency SUNA accused rebels of kidnapping three people, including a senior government official working to stop abductions. The fate of the three was not immediately clear, informs Reuters. According to the NYTimes, the United States circulated a draft Security Council resolution on Sudan today threatening sanctions on the country's oil industry, expanding an African Union force monitoring violence in the Darfur region and calling for the United Nations to create an international commission to determine whether genocide has occurred. Stuart Holliday, a deputy United States ambassador, said the measure would be formally introduced Thursday — the same day that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell will be testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on a new State Department report accusing the Sudanese government of promoting systematic killing based on race and ethnicity. To get around some Security Council members' reluctance to to use the word "sanctions," the language of the resolution substitutes a reference to an article of the United Nations Charter that lays out punitive economic and diplomatic measures as the likely consequence of noncompliance with the resolution's demands. "Our read, of course, is that `measures pursuant to article 41' are sanctions," said Mr. Holliday. A resolution on Sudan with that same formulation passed the Security Council on July 30 by a 13 to 0 vote, with China and Pakistan abstaining. The leader of Sudan's southern rebel movement says the humanitarian crisis in the country's western Darfur region can only be solved by forming a new government of national unity. Until last year, international attention in Sudan focused on the longstanding conflict between the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum and rebels operating in the mostly Christian and animist southern region of the country. But the deaths of tens of thousands of people in Darfur and the displacement of more than a million others have shifted attention away from the larger north-south conflict, publishes VOANews.

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