Home | News    Saturday 20 November 2004

Britain calls for immediate end to Darfur violence

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LONDON, Nov 19 (AFP) — Violence in Sudan’s strife-torn western region of Darfur must stop at once, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said Friday after a United Nations resolution was passed calling for peace in the country.

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"The attacks and atrocities have got to stop now," Straw said in a statement following the adoption of Resolution 1574 by the UN Security Council at a special session in Nairobi.

The meeting was aimed mainly at tackling Sudan’s separate 21-year-old north-south civil war, in which some 1.5 million people are believed to have died, and the resolution called for peace throughout the country.

"We would have liked a stronger resolution, particularly on Darfur, but we obviously had to work with partners in the (Security) Council to get the best resolution that in practice would command a consensus," Straw said.

"The United Kingdom remains gravely concerned about the security situation in Darfur. The primary responsibility for the security of the citizens of Darfur rests with the government of Sudan."

Darfur has been plunged into what the UN terms the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since February 2003, when two rebel groups rose up against the government in Khartoum, demanding greater autonomy for their region.

The government response was to train, arm and give a free rein to an Arab militia called the Janjaweed to crack down on the rebels, drawn mainly from Darfur’s black African population.

Around 70,000 people are estimated to have been killed and some 1.6 million forced from their villages.

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