African News

Blair calls for action on "scandal" of Darfur

21 April 2007 at 19:33 | 1381 views

According to a 10 Downing Street press release issued this week, Prime Minister Tony Blair(photo) says Britain is in favour of "tougher measures and sanctions" against Sudan over the continuing violence in the Darfur region.

People are dying needlessly, with millions more displaced, and the Sudanese government were not allowing the UN/Africa Union force to bring stability to the region, he told reporters.

Mr Blair described the situation as a "scandal", adding:

"We are in favour of very much tougher measures and sanctions against the Sudanese Government if they continue to flout what has been the clearly established will of the international community and continue to allow the killing of completely innocent people."

Despite the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement by the Government of Sudan and Minni Minawi’s section of the Sudan Liberation Movement in 2006, conflict has continued in Darfur, western Sudan.

It is largely a battle for resources, land, water and grazing rights together with a related struggle for power within the indigenous tribal administration structure.

Blair’s Statement.

I am sorry, I know you asked a question on Sudan before, but I just wanted to come back anyway and pose one or two things about the situation.

Tomorrow the United States and the UK are going to begin discussions with partners in the UN Security Council on a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Sudan. What is happening in Sudan at the moment is unacceptable, is appalling and is a scandal for the international community. There are 200,000 people that have died, there are 2 million people that have been displaced, there are 4 million people on food aid.

The Sudanese government continues to flout the will of the international community to remove arms, continues to fail to disarm the Janjaweed Militia that are killing innocent people, and this new resolution will include measures against individuals who are engaged in violence or responsible for authorising it, it will include measures that allow us far better air monitoring of this violence, and also to make sure that we do everything that we can to get the agreement of the Sudanese government to the force, African Union and the UN coming into the country in order to do the peacekeeping and stabilising that is necessary. Now at any point if the Sudanese government and President Bashir want to stop this process, they can, by doing those things that they should have been doing a long time ago. If they do that then this process can be completed; but if they don’t it is our intention to make sure that this UN Security Council Resolution is tabled and voted upon.

So I hope that very clear message goes to the Sudanese government today. We have waited and waited, we have tried diplomacy and negotiation again and again with the Sudanese government, but they have to get the message that the international community will not allow the scandal that is Darfur to continue.