U.N. OKs sanctions against Sudan if violence is unabated

The United States revised the resolution three times.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Saturday threatening oil sanctions against Sudan unless the government acts to rein in Arab militias accused of violence in the Darfur region that the United States has called genocide.
The vote was 11-0. China, Russia, Pakistan and Algeria abstained because of objections to sanctions and other provisions, which they said could provoke the Sudanese government to end its cooperation with international efforts to cope with the massive humanitarian crisis.
The resolution strongly endorses the deployment of a beefed-up African Union force with an expanded monitoring mission that would actively try to prevent attacks in the vast western region and mediate to stop the conflict from escalating. More than 50,000 people already have died and 1.2 million have fled their homes to escape the violence.
To investigate reports
It also authorizes Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was in the council chamber for the vote, to rapidly appoint an international commission to investigate reports of human-rights violations in Darfur and determine "whether or not acts of genocide have occurred."
The approval of the resolution came a day after Annan called for immediate U.N. action to halt attacks against civilians in western Darfur, which he said were continuing despite the government's promise to rein in the marauding militias.
The United States, which introduced the resolution, revised it three times, softening language to try to get broader support and avert a threatened Chinese veto.
Beijing failed to persuade the United States to make further changes but decided to abstain after a last-minute meeting between U.S. Ambassador John Danforth and China's U.N. Ambassador Wang Guangya.
The conflict began when two Darfur rebel groups with roots in the region's ethnic African tribes rose up in February 2003, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of neglect and discrimination.
The government is accused of trying to suppress the rebellion by backing ethnic Arab herdsmen known as Janjaweed, who long have competed with African villagers over Darfur's scarce resources.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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