Home | News    Tuesday 27 July 2004

Sudan asks EU for time to disarm Arab militia

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BRUSSELS, July 27 (Reuters) - Sudan on Tuesday pleaded for more time to bring peace to its Darfur region, saying European Union criticism would hamper its efforts to disarm Arab militia, held responsible for violence in Darfur.

The EU called on the United Nations on Monday to consider imposing sanctions on Sudan if it does not neutralise the militia, known as Janjaweed.

The United Nations says 30,000 people have been killed in fighting and a million people made homeless in the remote western part of Sudan, the size of France.

Sudan’s Ambassador to the European Union, Ali Youssif Ahmed, said Sudan had 90 days to act against the militia under a U.N. deal and rejected Europe’s call over possible sanctions.

"The timeline ends on October 3 ... before that (you) shouldn’t make noise as the noise will distract us," Ahmed told Reuters.

But EU lawmakers dismissed Ahmed’s plea, saying the Sudanese government had armed the militia, which has driven Black Africans from their homes and into the barren desert.

"There is overwhelming evidence that the Khartoum Government supplied the militia with arms, giving air support ... to the Janjaweed," said Glenys Kinnock, a British Labour member of the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, the EU executive Commission raised an alarm about a food aid shortage after October, calling on the 25-nation bloc to guarantee supplies until the end of the year.

"Member states have given 160 million euros for the Darfur crisis ... (but they) are putting most of their funding into ... building field hospitals, mosquito nets and digging wells," said European Commission official Roger Moore.

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