SUDAN WATCH: Straw delivered message to Khartoum: Sort it out, or face the music

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Straw delivered message to Khartoum: Sort it out, or face the music

Mr Straw's 2-day visit to Sudan on Monday was part of a process. The trip had been announced on July 22. Mr Straw had spoken to Kofi Annan before he went to Khartoum and would talk to him again on his return to give him a full read out.

Mr Straw met with the Sudanese President and the Foreign Minister and underlined British support for the international process to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. He delivered a clear message to the Government of Sudan that they must do more to comply with the UN Security Council Resolution and the commitments that they gave to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

Mr Straw urged Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to heed growing international calls for swift action on the crisis in Darfur as a United Nations deadline for Khartoum to comply or face sanctions approaches. "Our collective interest is to see a safe, secure and prosperous Sudan able to live at peace with itself," Straw told reporters after separate meetings with Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's representative for Sudan, Jan Pronk.

Straw said he told the president: "The government of Sudan has to help us to help them. And that means fulfilling the obligations imposed on them by resolution 1556 and voluntarily accepted by them in the action plan which followed discussions with Mr. Pronk." The action plan thrashed out by Pronk and Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail earlier this month was designed to help Sudan undertake a step-by-step implementation of the Security Council resolution on the crisis.

Straw pointed out that much of his discussions with Sudanese officials focused on the plan, often referred to as the August 5 Darfur Plan of Action, "to see what steps they are taking to implement the obligations which they have put on themselves." He asserted that the aim was not to find fault with the government and a reason for conflict, but rather to help it. "No one should be in any doubt about our determination to do all that we can to help this country and its people look forward to a better future," he said.
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Note re this post: To me, the sub title "Sort it out, or face the music" summed up the situation pretty neatly. Full credit goes to British blogger Gregory Block for using it in a comment of his at "Downing Street Says" in a post re Jack Straw's visit to Khartoum - the words leapt out of my screen and, for me, put the whole trip in a nutshell. So I lifted it, and used it here - with thanks to Gregory :)

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