Home | News    Saturday 24 July 2004

EU’s Solana urges Sudan to arrest militia leaders

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Javier Solana

BRUSSELS, July 24 (Reuters) - The European Union’s top diplomat urged Sudan late on Friday to disarm Arab militias and arrest their leaders, responsible for human rights abuses, described by the U.S. Congress as "genocide."

Foreign Policy Javier Solana told Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail at their late-night meeting in Brussels that Khartoum had to act without delay to disarm the Janjaweed militias, which have driven black Africans into barren desert.

"He (Solana) urged the Government to arrest the leaders of the Janjaweed, as a first significant step towards the dismantling of these militias, which are held accountable for most of the human rights violations," Solana’s spokeswoman said in a statement issued on Saturday.

After a long conflict between Arab nomads and black African farmers, rebel groups launched a revolt in February 2003 in the west of the oil-producing country.

The United Nations estimates that at least 30,000 people have been killed and more than a million displaced, many of them driven from their homes by the Janjaweed.

It has declared the situation in Darfur the world’s worst humanitarian crisis but has not called it a genocide, which would force it to take action.

Earlier this month, EU foreign ministers threatened unspecified "measures" against Khartoum if it failed to act against the Dafur crisis. The issue is set to debated on Monday when the ministers meet again in Brussels.

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