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Africa

UN Security Council split on Sudan expulsions

Latest update : 2009-03-07

UN Security Council members failed on Friday to agree a joint response to Sudan's decision to expel 13 NGOs. According to one diplomat, China refused to sign up to a text which called on Sudan to reverse its decision.

AFP - UN Security Council members failed on Friday to agree a joint response to Sudan's decision to expel 13 humanitarian groups from the country.
   
Western diplomats said the 15-member council had agreed to express their "concern" about the situation in Sudan during discussions Friday, but were unable to agree to a joint statement.
   
According to one diplomat, who asked not to be named, China -- a veto-wielding member of the council -- refused to sign up to a text which called on Sudan to reverse its decision.
   
The Khartoum government announced it would expel the agencies after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Beshir, who is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity carried out in Darfur, western Sudan.
   
"There won't be a statement," Britain's UN ambassador John Sawers said after the closed-door meeting.
   
Aid groups condemned the United Nation's inaction as "grotesque."
   
"The Security Council should condemn the fact that an indicted war criminal has deliberately put yet more lives at risk by expelling aid workers," said Richard Dicker of Human Rights Watch.
   
"This is no time for the council to debate letting Beshir off the hook for crimes against humanity. That is simply grotesque."
   
Earlier on Friday, Washington's ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice blasted Sudan's decision, describing it as "reckless" and "callous."
   
"The United States is gravely concerned by the reckless decision of the Sudanese government to expel international aid groups working to ease the suffering of Sudan's citizens," Rice told reporters in a conference call.
   
The United Nations says that 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million made homeless by the conflict in Sudan which erupted in February 2003.
 

Date created : 2009-03-07

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