Security Council approves sanctions on four participants in Darfur conflict |

Security Council approves sanctions on four participants in Darfur conflict

UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council voted Tuesday to slap sanctions on four men involved in the Darfur conflict, the first-ever such penalties imposed in the violence.China and Russia had initially opposed the sanctions but in the end chose to abstain instead of casting vetoes that would have killed them. Qatar also abstained, saying it did not see enough evidence that the four men were involved.The four who face sanctions are accused of helping orchestrate and carry out killings, rape and other rights abuses in Darfur. The conflict between rebels and government-backed militias has caused about 180,000 deaths – most from disease and hunger – and displaced 2 million people.”This resolution demonstrates that the Security Council is serious in its efforts to restore peace and security in the region,” U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said. “We regret that the vote today was not unanimous but we do not think it will deter the Security Council from fulfilling its responsibility.”The sanctions are the first imposed by the U.N. Security Council since it adopted a resolution in March 2005 authorizing an asset freeze and travel ban on individuals who defy peace efforts, violate international human rights law, or are responsible for military overflights in Darfur.China and Russia feared that the sanctions could complicate Darfur peace talks currently under way in Abuja, Nigeria. The African Union and the Security Council have demanded that an accord be reached by April 30.Diplomats said they dropped their objections, however, after African nations expressed support for the sanctions.They were also appeased by a statement from the council expressing support for the talks. According to the statement, the council “urges the parties to make speedy progress in concluding a Darfur peace accord.”Despite abstaining, the Chinese and Russian ambassadors told the council that they still had deep reservations.”In our view, there is the feeling that the adoption of this resolution might have a negative impact on the prospects for concluding a peace agreement within the time period,” Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Konstantin Dolgov said.Decades of low-level tribal clashes over land and water in the Darfur region erupted into large-scale violence in early 2003 when ethnic African tribes took up arms, accusing the Arab-dominated central government of neglect.The government is accused of responding by unleashing Arab tribal militias known as Janjaweed to murder and rape civilians and lay waste to villages – a charge it denies.Vail, Colorado

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