Russia, China Expected to Oppose U.S. Over Darfur

Tue Feb 15, 2:01 AM ET   World - Reuters

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States and its allies are
expected to face opposition from Russia and China in the U.N.
Security Council for targeted sanctions to pressure government,
militia and rebel forces to end the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur

Junior diplomats on Tuesday begin a "walk through" of an eight-page
U.S.-drafted resolution, which authorizes a large peacekeeping force
in southern Sudan in hopes that a recent landmark accord there will
spur peace in Darfur in the west.

Negotiations on the resolution are expected throughout the week and
U.S. officials are hoping for a vote by the end of the month.

Council sources anticipate opposition from Russia and China, which
have veto power, as well as Algeria. All three have rejected previous
calls for sanctions to give Khartoum more time to rein in a pro-
government militia, blamed for much of the killings, rape and

The draft calls for an assets freeze and travel ban within 30 days on
those responsible for the violence in Darfur, where tens of thousands
have died and 2 million people are homeless in two years of
escalating fighting.


Half of the resolution deals with authorizing a more than 10,000-
strong peacekeeping force for southern Sudan, with the power to
protect civilians from the imminent threat of violence. The force is
to prop up a Jan. 9 peace agreement that ended 21 years of a north-
south civil war.

The new U.N. mission in Sudan, called UNMISUD, would be in place for
an initial six months while U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan
explores options on how to assist an African Union force currently
monitoring violations in Darfur. But diplomats did not expect U.N.
blue helmeted soldiers in Darfur.

"We believe the AU should be supported," said U.S. Deputy Ambassador
Stuart Holliday, recalling that Jan Pronk, the special envoy to
Sudan, has said "even if the entirety of the AU force were deployed
to Darfur, it still wouldn't be enough."

The draft resolution demands accountability for atrocities "through
internationally accepted means" but avoids saying where the
perpetrators should be tried. This follows a dispute over a tribunal
between the United States and Europe, including Britain.

Diplomats said the Bush administration so far had failed to get
enough council support for its proposed new court to be set up in
Arusha, Tanzania, although it has promised funds for it.

At least nine out of 15 council members prefer the new International
Criminal Court in the Hague, which Washington rejects, fearing
frivolous prosecution of U.S. troops abroad.

If no agreement is reached by the time of a vote, the resolution may
be adopted without mentioning the name of a court.

"We don't seek to defer responsibility for the tough decisions ...but
we also understand that we don't want to hold up the agreement we can
reach," Holliday said.

Other measures in the resolution include an arms embargo on Darfur
unless a Security Council committee authorizes weapons. And it
demands "offensive military flights" stop unless the council
committee approves in advance.

Oil sanctions are also threatened if the situation in Darfur
deteriorates, but support is lacking to impose them.