The Darfur Crisis And The UN

Military actions in Darfur region (Sudan) have been going for over four years. According to the UN estimates, during this period of time 200 thousand people were killed and 2.5 million people became refugees or displaced persons in this region. The conflict affected the relationship between Sudan and neighboring Chad, threatening thus to go beyond a single country. Sudanese accused the neighboring country in support of the uprising. Chadian authorities have put forward a similar accusation against Sudan - the support for the Arab nomads in the Chad by Sudanese government was implied. In early 2007 an agreement was reached.Under its terms both Governments have promised each other not to support rebels.

If the internationalization of the war never came, the internationalization of the search for peace is really active. The main reason for searching the peace plans has been given by the recognition by the world community that the conflict has led to a humanitarian catastrophe in Darfur. There was a warning about the possibility of a tragedy similar to the events in Rwanda, where during 100 days 800 thousand civilians were killed in 1994. The word «genocide» has also been mentioned.The Amnesty International and the politician Colin Powell (the State Secretary in the first Bush administration) were the first ones to use such an assessment.

The UN continues to apply to the situation in Darfur more balanced term "humanitarian catastrophe". The UN Security Council responded to calls to intervene. By the resolution #1556 it introduced the arms embargo to all operating in Darfur militias and individuals, including the Janjaweed sinceJuly 30, 2004. In 2005 the UN Security Council strengthened the sanctions regime.

On the background of the external pressure the Sudanese government has made several attempts to negotiate with the rebels. The first such conference was held in the Chadian capital N'Djamena in 2004. Representatives from two organizations - JEM and SLM - promised a cease-fire, but the real outcome of the talks was the SLM split, and then resumption of clashes.

Another peace conference was held in May 2006 in Abuja (Nigeria) with the participation of representatives of the African Union (AU) and the Assistant Secretary of the United States Robert Zoellick. With the same effect -the parties agreed to a cease-fire but the war flared up again two months later due to the same critical issues.

Then the UN Security Council requested the AU to send its peacekeepers to Darfur. The African Union mission (AMIS) included 7 thousand soldiers. On August 31, 2006 the UN Security Council instructed to increase the troop level up to 17,300 people, but Khartoum has responded to this decision by a demand to withdraw those that are in Darfur. AMIS has not been able to influence the situation in the region.

In August 31, 2006 the Security Council adopted resolution number 1706 (Russia, China and Qatar abstained) which proposed to send 22,5 thousand UN peacekeepers in addition to the AMIS forces in Darfur, but Khartoum categorically denied the involvement of "non-Africans" in peacemaking.