With the conflict in western Sudan's Darfur region continuing, the United Nations Security Council yesterday voted to tighten its arms embargo on Sudan's Government and rebels by forming a Council committee to monitor the implementation of the weapons ban.
The vote in the 15-member Council was 12 in favour of the United States-sponsored resolution, with Algeria, China and Russia abstaining.
The Council Committee would also designate individuals "who impede the peace process, constitute a threat to stability in Darfur and the region, commit violations of international humanitarian or human rights law or other atrocities," violate prior embargoes, "or are responsible for offensive military overflights."
Governments should freeze the funds, financial assets and economic resources of these individuals in their countries, as well as the assets of the entities those individuals own, the Council said.
Like the resolution on southern Sudan approved last Thursday, the Council stressed that there could be no military solution to the conflict in Darfur, a region the size of France, and called on the Government and the rebel groups, particularly the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), to resume peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, without preconditions and to negotiate in good faith so as to reach agreement quickly.
The Council asked Secretary-General Kofi Annan, within 30 days of the approval of the resolution, to appoint for six months a four-member Panel of Experts based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to travel regularly to El-Fasher and other locations in Sudan.
The Panel should report back within 90 days of the approval of the resolution and submit a final report no later than 30 days before its mandate expires, it said.
The Council voted unanimously last week to send up to10,000 troops and up to 715 civilian police to southern Sudan for an initial period of six months to support the peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), which ended more than two decades of civil strife.