UN Council imposes sanctions on four individuals
United Nations, Apr 26 : Addressing the continuing atrocities against civilians in Darfur, Sudan, the Security Council urged that the parties reach a peace accord by the end of this month and imposed sanctions against four individuals considered a threat to the region.
The atrocities have been caused by fighting between rebels, the government and allied tribal militias.
In a resolution favoured by 12 members of the 15-Member Council, with three abstaining, restrictions were placed on the assets and international travel of Maj-Gen Gaffar Mohamed Elhassan, commander of the Western Military Region for the Sudanese Air Force.
The measures were also directed at Adam Yacub Shant, commander of the Sudanese Liberation Army rebel group; Gabril Abdul Kareem Badri, the field commander of another rebel group, the National Movement for Reform; and Sheikh Musa Hilal, the paramount chief of the Jalul Tribe in North Darfur.
In a separate statement read out yesterday by the Council's President for this month, Wang Guangya of China, the powerful body urged that the talks taking place in Abuja, Nigeria, meet the African Union's April 30 deadline for a peace deal for Darfur.
Sanctions have been the subject of much debate in the Council since fighting flared again earlier this year in Darfur, where over 180,000 people have already died and millions have been displaced.
In December, 2005, the Council imposed an arms embargo on Sudan and paved the way for targeted sanctions against individuals.
At the time, Ambassador John Bolton of the United States said the purpose of the targeted sanctions mechanism ''is to apply pressure - and I don't think we should be ashamed to say that -- to people who are violating the arms embargo, not contributing to our effort to establish an effective peace process in Darfur and to restore the deteriorating security there.'' Today, the representatives of the three countries that abstained from voting on sanctions -- China, Russia and Qatar -- said that the measures would have a negative impact on the Abuja peace negotiations, which are in their final, critical week before the African Union deadline. Qatar is currently the only Arab nation on the Council.
Both in the Sudanese context and in broader terms, said representative Konstantin Dolgov of Russia, the implementation of sanctions should be closely linked with the task of assisting and facilitating the resolution of the conflict and ensuring regional stability -- not disrupting peace negotiations at such a critical time.
Britain's ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said, ''The council's reputation is at stake and we believe this will actually help the Abuja process to demonstrate that impunity cannot be allowed to continue. These atrocities have to come to an end.'' Jones Parry told reporters he would lead a Security Council mission to Khartoum and Darfur in early June.