Home | News    Monday 26 March 2007

Europe calls on Sudan to accept UN resolution

March 25, 2007 (BERLIN) — The European Union on Sunday called the suffering of the people of Sudan "unbearable" and raised the possibility of stronger sanctions against Sudan if it fails to uphold U.N. resolutions aimed at stemming fighting.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke the day after Sudanese troops barred the U.N. humanitarian chief from visiting a refugee camp in the Darfur region whose residents have been raped and attacked by gunmen suspected of belonging to pro-government militias.

"Even today, our thoughts are with the people in ... Darfur. The suffering there is unbearable," Merkel said at a celebration of the European Union’s 50th birthday in Berlin.

"We call on the Sudanese President (Omar) al-Bashir to finally accept the terms of the U.N. Resolution, and I say openly: We must consider stronger sanctions," said Merkel, whose country holds the rotating E.U. leadership.

The suffering of some 4 million people in Sudan’s Darfur region - caught in fighting between rebels, the government and the pro-government militias - has been taken up by celebrities and Nobel laureates, including Bob Geldof, Guenter Grass, Harold Pinter and Vaclav Havel, who urged the E.U. to take more decisive action in the region.

In an open letter to Merkel on Sunday, U.S. actor George Clooney added his voice, calling on E.U. president Germany to take "decisive action" in the region in the face of al-Bashir’s failure to respond to the U.N. resolutions.

"The coming together of Europe’s leaders this weekend is an ideal opportunity for the most stringent of sanctions to be put in place," Clooney wrote. "This genocide is happening on our watch. And what we do to stop it will be our legacy."

More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced in four years of fighting in Sudan, and the Arab janjaweed militias are accused of widespread atrocities against ethnic African civilians.

On Saturday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon failed to persuade Egypt to push Sudan’s leader to accept a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the region.