UN envoy heads to Kuwait to spotlight plight of Darfur region in Sudan

10 September 2004

As members of the Security Council began closed-door talks on a proposed draft resolution on Sudan, a senior United Nations envoy today visited Kuwait to draw attention to the humanitarian crises raging across Africa's largest nation, especially the Darfur region, and to drum up a greater response by international donors.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters today that the trip by Mohamed Sahnoun, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on Africa, was designed to underline the gravity and urgency of the situation in Sudan, where more than 1.4 million have been displaced by the Darfur conflict and a separate, 21-year civil war in the country's south has not been resolved.

Mr. Sahnoun's visit also focused on the huge financial costs needed to meet humanitarian needs in Darfur and to reintegrate the massive population of returnees in the south, where hopes are running high for an end to war thanks to ongoing peace talks in Kenya.

UN agencies have so far received only $288 million of the $722 million they requested to cover their needs in Darfur and southern Sudan until the end of this year.

In Darfur, about 1.2 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 are refugees in neighbouring Chad because of fighting between Sudanese Government forces and two rebel groups, and brutal attacks against civilians by militias allied to Khartoum.

Meanwhile, the Security Council's 15 members held a meeting at experts' level this morning to discuss the draft resolution on Sudan that was introduced by the United States earlier this week. Mr. Eckhard said no date has been scheduled for a vote on the text.