Home | News    Wednesday 4 August 2004

Security Council to Focus on Sudan, Iraq

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UNITED NATIONS, Aug 4 (AP) - Russia took over the rotating Security Council presidency on Tuesday, setting an agenda for the month that focuses on the crisis in Sudan, the U.N. role in Iraq and the world body’s counter-terrorism efforts.

Russia’s new U.N. ambassador Andrey Denisov pledged to work for unity on the Security Council as it addresses Iraq and other issues that once bitterly divided the 15-member group.

A stronger United Nations is "a solid and fundamental element of Russian foreign policy," he told journalists.

The council agenda for August includes meetings on the United Nations’ work in Kosovo, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Congo, Somalia, Burundi and East Timor.

Denisov said Sudan would be a major focus. On Friday, the Security Council passed a resolution giving the Sudanese government 30 days to fulfill its commitments to disarm militias that have driven more than a million people from their homes or face possible sanctions.

Sudan’s government initially rejected the resolution but recently indicated it would comply with it and with agreements made with U.N. Secretary-Genral Kofi Annan and the African Union.

Some 30,000 people, mostly black African farmers, have died in the conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region and 2.2 million have been left in urgent need of aid.

A U.N. and Sudanese observer mission to Darfur said Tuesday there are no epidemics in the displaced persons camps and there is enough food to last until September, but additional security is needed.

The team traveled to Darfur last week to verify whether Sudan was meeting its pledges to disarm the Arab militia and restore security to Darfur.

"There has been some progress as a result of the government’s cooperation," Jan Pronk, the special representative of Annan, said, according to state-run Omdurman radio.

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