Posted by: APO | 19 May 2008

Darfur / June Presidency of Security Council Offers U.S. Opportunity for Darfur Leadership Africa Action Calls for All Peacekeeping Roadblocks to Be Removed

June Presidency of Security Council Offers U.S. Opportunity for Darfur Leadership Africa Action Calls for All Peacekeeping Roadblocks to Be Removed


Monday, May 19 (Washington, D.C) – In June, the U.S. will hold the presidency of the United Nations (UN) Security Council. After the Council’s 10-day trip to Africa scheduled for the beginning of the month, the U.S will have its best chance of the year to provide international leadership to end the genocide in Darfur and promote peace for Sudan. Today, Africa Action released a statement calling for the U.S. to use this opportunity to work with the international community to secure every resource the hybrid UN/African Union peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID requires, and overcome all obstacles the government of Sudan has placed to this operation’s full deployment. On Thursday, May 22, Africa Action and allies will hold a rally at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York to pressure the Bush administration to make this issue a priority.


Last weekend’s attack by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group on the Sudanese capital Khartoum have threatened the resumption of stalled peace talks to resolve the conflict in Darfur and led to a brutal government crackdown on Darfuris in and around Khartoum. These attacks also risk reigniting conflict between Sudan and its western neighbor Chad, with potentially dire impacts for the hundreds of thousands of displaced people along the Chad-Sudan border.


At its present capacity of just over 9,000 out of 26,000 mandated peacekeepers on the ground, lacking helicopters and other key assets, UNAMID can do little to protect civilians from such violence. In June, Africa Action urges the U.S. to leverage its full range of diplomatic and economic tools to overcome the logistical barriers and Sudanese government obstruction blocking UNAMID’s full and complete deployment.


“The past ten days have seen a serious deterioration in Sudan’s human security conditions, particularly around Khartoum and the Abyei region along the North-South border,” said Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action. “Unless the international community takes bold action over the next month, the situation will likely get even worse in three ways. Government violence against Darfuris in and around Khartoum as well as in Darfur itself may escalate. Chad and Sudan may return to outright war. Finally, the tenuous power-sharing arrangement between Khartoum and former Southern Sudanese rebel group the SPLM may slide closer to collapse. Strong U.S. leadership in the UN Security Council could help avert these deadly scenarios.”



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