The United Nations Security Council today called for "sustained pressure" on the Sudanese Government to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis engulfing the Darfur region and reserved the right to take tougher action if Khartoum does not match its commitments to end the human rights abuses and restrictions on aid workers.
The Council's 15 members also said they would consider adopting a resolution on Sudan "in the coming days" after receiving a briefing today on the situation by Secretary-General Kofi Annan - by satellite link from Kenya - and other senior UN officials.
In remarks to reporters, the Council's President for July, Ambassador Mihnea Ioan Motoc of Romania, said it wanted to pressure the Sudanese Government to try "to promote progress" in Darfur, where Government-allied Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, have driven more than a million people from their home villages since last year in a wave of ethnic displacement.
He said the Council was disturbed by the reports emerging from Darfur, an impoverished region in Sudan's west that is the size of France.
Civilians have told UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that the Janjaweed have burned their homes, killed or raped their relatives and driven them away in attacks targeting the region's black African inhabitants.
But Ambassador Motoc hailed last Saturday's pledge by Khartoum, which followed Mr. Annan's three-day visit to Sudan and Chad and talks with Sudanese officials, to take action to lift all restrictions on humanitarian access and to punish those who have violated human rights.
"We have appreciated and welcomed a joint communiqué…and welcome the commitments contained therein," he said.
Ambassador Motoc said the Council is currently studying a draft resolution and could vote on it within days. He said further action depended on whether the Sudanese Government was meeting the targets and promises it made Saturday.
Mr. Motoc also praised the role of the African Union, which has offered to deploy ceasefire monitors and to help mediate a solution to the conflict between Khartoum, the militias and two Darfur rebel groups.
Video of remarks to the press [04mins]