US softens sanctions against Sudan's oil industry

The United States yesterday softened its threat of sanctions against Sudan's oil industry in a new U.N. draft resolution demanding a halt to the violence in Darfur.

Washington has been seeking an embargo against Sudan's &to=' target=_blank>oil industry if it fails to stop the violence against civilians in the country's desolate western region and cooperate fully with the African Union to expand the latter's monitoring effort in the area.

The threat of sanctions was necessary, diplomats said, to compel Khartoum to cooperate. But a tough oil embargo was vehemently opposed by China, which had threatened a rare Security Council veto, as well as Russia, Pakistan and other council members. Many of them buy Sudanese oil, informs The Washington Times.

According to CNN ambassador John Danforth circulated the new draft resolution to the 15 nations of the Security Council on Tuesday, and said he hopes the body will pass it by the week's end.

"With respect to the number of people dying in Darfur, it is a true tragedy and all the more urgent to help the people of Darfur," he said.

Muslim militias, known as the Janjaweed, have been accused of committing widespread atrocities against black villagers and uprooting more than a million people, who have fled to other regions of Sudan or across the border to Chad.

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