March 25, 2007

Sudan Urged to Accept Darfur Resolution

Sudan Urged to Accept Darfur Resolution
Sun Mar 25, 2007 7:07 AM

(ABOVE) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, center, speaks before signing the Berlin Declaration during a ceremony at the Historical Museum in Berlin, Sunday March 25, 2007. European Union leaders signed the declaration Sunday aimed at breaking the deadlock and re-launching debate over how to renew the EU's political rule book. The ceremony was part of the EU's 50th birthday party marking the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Seated left is Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and right is Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN — The suffering of people in Darfur is "unbearable" and the United Nations should consider stronger sanctions against the Sudanese government for not stopping violence in the region, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday.

Merkel — whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union — made the comments at a celebration of the EU's 50th birthday in Berlin.

The remarks came a day after Sudanese troops barred the U.N. humanitarian chief from visiting a refugee camp in the Darfur region.

"Even today, our thoughts are with the people in ... Darfur. The suffering there is unbearable," Merkel said. "We call on the Sudanese President (Omar) al-Bashir to finally accept the terms of the U.N. resolution. And I say openly: we must consider stronger sanctions."

Some 4 million people in Sudan's Darfur region are caught in the midst of fighting between rebels, the government and the pro-government janjaweed militia. More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2 million displaced in four years of fighting, and the Arab janjaweed are accused of widespread atrocities against ethnic African civilians.

Darfur's cause has been taken up by celebrities and intellectuals around the globe.

In an open letter to Merkel on Sunday, actor George Clooney called on EU president Germany to take "decisive action" in the region in the face of al-Bashir's failure to respond to the U.N. resolutions.

"The coming together of Europe's leaders this weekend is an ideal opportunity for the most stringent of sanctions to be put in place," Clooney wrote. "This genocide is happening on our watch. And what we do to stop it will be our legacy."

Also Saturday, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, during a trip to the Mideast, failed to persuade Egypt to push Sudan's leader to accept a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the region.

No comments: