Home | News    Sunday 25 July 2004

Fischer and Powell agree sanctions necessary if Sudan doesn’t live up to commitments

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BERLIN, July 25, 2004 (AP) — German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell agreed in a phone call that Sudan should face international sanctions if it doesn’t live up to commitments in the crisis region of Darfur, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The two leaders agreed that international pressure is needed for peace in the crisis region, the ministry said.

The 15-month conflict between Darfur’s black Africans, mostly farmers, and pro-government Arab militias has displaced more than 1 million people and left 2.2 million in desperate need of food and medicine.

Sudan has insisted the country will prosecute Arab militias responsible for killings in the Darfur region, but has denied that the attacks amounted to genocide.

Fischer travels to Brussels Monday for a European Union meeting to discuss the Darfur situation.

The EU wants a political solution to the crisis, and has urged rebel groups, who walked out of peace talks last week to return to the negotiating table. The rebels have insisted the government honor the terms of previous peace agreements before beginning new talks.

The 25-nation EU, the United States and humanitarian groups have accused the Sudanese government of backing the militias -a claim it denies.

"The Sudanese government has the duty to guarantee people’s security and the responsibility of bringing the militias before the courts and taking their weapons, in order to end the violence," Fischer told ZDF television Sunday.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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