Home | News    Tuesday 21 February 2006

Bolton wants UN resolution on Darfur this month

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Feb 20, 2006 (UNITED NATIONS) — U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said on Monday he wanted a Security Council resolution on a future U.N. force in Sudan’s Darfur region by the end of the month to give the operation "political impetus."

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John Bolton

Bolton also chided the United Nations for not planning quickly enough for a U.N. force to take over from the African Union in Darfur in an effort to stop the killings, rape, plunder and homelessness in Sudan’s western region.

And he suggested to reporters that Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has pushed for U.S. and NATO contributions, also lobby Arab and African countries.

"It would be helpful, I think, if the secretary-general, in addition to prodding the U.S. could also be out there talking to the African Union and the Arab League, and in fact, even talking to his own peacekeepers about the importance of moving ahead here," Bolton said.

But Annan told reporters, "I’m not going to answer that," when asked about Bolton’s comments. But his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. "planning process was moving full speed ahead."

Bolton has distributed what he called "elements of a resolution" to Security Council members outlining the duties of future peacekeepers in Darfur, rather than awaiting the result of U.N. planning to take over from the 7,000-strong, underfinanced African Union force.

Bolton said that while the United Nations had begun contingency planning "a lot more could be done."

"And that is one reason why we felt that having a resolution by the end of the month would also provide additional political impetus" before the council formally authorized the U.N. mission, Bolton said.

One provision of the text, obtained by Reuters, calls for stopping "any act of violence or other abuse on civilian populations." Another calls for halting "the acquisition and supply of arms and ammunition."

But Bolton acknowledged the council might have difficulty adopting a resolution by the time his presidency of the 15-member body ended on Feb. 28 because the African Union would not formally agree to hand over the mission before March 3.

"But I said we thought it was important to proceed in any event," he said.

U.S. ROLE

Annan has lobbied President George W. Bush and NATO nations in an effort to get sophisticated air support and a robust mobile force so troops on the ground, expected to come from Africa and Asia, could be ferried to trouble spots in time.

After maintaining a silence on what the United States might do, Bush on Friday signaled a new commitment. He said he supported an expanded NATO role to help the African Union and favored doubling the number of peacekeepers in that region under U.N. control.

The United States has sent four military planners to help the U.N. peacekeeping department.

"And that is why we have been pressing the secretariat hard," Bolton said. "We want to make sure there is not a disjunction between what the secretary-general says publicly and what the secretariat itself is doing."

In response, Dujarric, the chief U.N. spokesman said, "The secretary-general and the secretariat are well aware of the situation in Darfur."

"Once we know what this force will look like, we will be presenting options to the Security Council," Dujarric said. "We will then go back to those countries that have the capacity and the resources to help put that force together."

(Reuters)

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