Following yesterday's one-hour Security Council meeting held behind closed doors, a report today in the Guardian by its diplomatic editor Ewen MacAskill, says:
"The British government is to back punitive measures against the Sudanese government after losing patience over the worsening humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Until now the Foreign Office has argued that persuasion was more productive than sanctions and other measures. But a British government source said: "We have run out of patience. It would be incredible if the international community continued to just wave a finger."
Well, it looks like the international community is continuing to just wave a finger. Read the report
carefully and you will see why the Guardian's headline "Britain backs UN sanctions after losing patience in Sudan crisis" is not as action packed as it sounds. However, it seems the one big thing to come out of the meeting is about sending the accused war criminals to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The Guardian report states:
"The most important measure in a United Nations security council resolution this week will be to send those accused of crimes against humanity to the International criminal court, according to diplomatic sources. In a big concession to international opinion, the US will agree to allow Darfur cases to go to the ICC, the sources add. The US has strenuously opposed the court, but is now prepared to abstain in the security council.
Other measures include the setting up of a sanctions committee to target individuals in the Sudanese government, as well as some rebels. But the proposed sanctions have been watered down in horsetrading between Britain, the US, China and Russia.
The US, backed by Britain, circulated a draft resolution to extend an arms embargo, freeze assets of individuals accused of major crimes and impose travel bans on the same individuals. China and Russia, which have economic ties to the Sudanese government, have agreed to the setting up of a UN sanctions committee to identify those who should be targeted. But, in return, plans for the extended arms ban and freeze on assets have been dropped, with only the travel ban remaining."
Note, a travel ban on those who are on the UN's sealed list of suspected Darfur war criminals [reportedly, the list includes ten members of Bashir's genocidal regime] is unlikely to be imposed because Khartoum has in the past threatened reciprocal measures. Who knows, banning entry into Sudan could include UN officials, and even aid workers, even though the UN is currently in the process of setting up offices in Southern Sudan. [Not to mention the attendance of oil deal meetings .... more on oil dealings in Sudan in a forthcoming post.