SUDAN WATCH: Final chance for Sudan on Darfur: Blair

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Final chance for Sudan on Darfur: Blair

Nov 1 2006 AFP report via Gulf Times. Excerpt:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Sudan yesterday that it faces a "crunch point" and will be internationally isolated if it fails to act over Darfur within weeks, his spokesman said.

Blair held talks with Sudanese Vice President General Salva Kiir Mayardit as the country faces strong international pressure to replace the African Union force in its troubled western Darfur region with up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers.

President Omar al-Bashir has rejected the plan, claiming it is a US-led plot to invade the country.

"The important thing is that we give President Bashir one final chance to move to agree a deal or face the consequences of increasing isolation and we’re facing that crunch point," Blair's official spokesman said.

"What's important is that the Sudanese government has no doubt about the seriousness of that message."

Sudan faces "isolation if they don’t respond to the will of the international community", he added, saying that Blair wanted to see "clear progress" ahead of an African Union meeting in late November.

The Sudanese government would have been left "in no doubt" what Blair meant after yesterday's talks, the spokesman said.

Britain's premier also used the meeting to call for dialogue with dissident rebel groups to restart, he added.

One of Sudan's top peace negotiators, Culture and Tourism Minister Mohamed Yusif Abdallah, said elsewhere yesterday that the government was continuing talks with groups which had not signed up to the Abuja peace agreement.

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