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UN urges swift end to Sudan wars
November 18, 2004
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says there is "no time to waste" in ending the civil war in southern Sudan.

A peace deal there would also help resolve the crisis in the western Sudanese province of Darfur, he added.

He was addressing a special meeting of the Security Council in Nairobi - the fourth ever to be held away from UN headquarters in New York.

Mr Annan issued "the strongest warning" to both sides in the Darfur conflict, accusing them of violating the truce.

BBC UN correspondent Susannah Price says members chose Nairobi as a venue to focus international attention on Sudan's peace process.

Elusive peace

For the past two years the government and the southern rebels have held talks in Kenya, aimed at ending their 21-year civil war.

An Arab-looking man, in a uniform with military insignia, stopped his car next to me. He grabbed my son from me and threw him into a fire
Kalima, Kidinyir villager

Rape survivor's account
A ceasefire is currently in force.

Both southern rebel leader John Garang and Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha reaffirmed in Nairobi that they were committed to a settlement.

A few months ago, the two sides agreed to share power and oil resources. But a final deal is yet to be signed.

Since then both the international community and Khartoum have turned their attention to the crisis in the western region of Darfur.

The civil war there broke out in early 2003, when rebel groups began attacking government targets saying the government had neglected the region.

In response Khartoum mobilised Arab "self-defence militias", which are accused of carrying out atrocities against local black Africans.

Mr Annan told Security Council members on Thursday that the "speedy conclusion of the north-south talks" would serve as "a basis and a catalyst" for the resolution of the Darfur conflict.

Darfur pressure

Our correspondent says diplomats remain divided about how any resolution should refer to Darfur, with members such as China reluctant to put too much pressure on the Sudanese government.

UN security council meeting in Nairobi
2004: Nairobi, Kenya
1990: Geneva, Switzerland
1973: Panama City
1972: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Q&A: Darfur crisis
Special UN meeting
Can UN bring peace?
She says the council wants to secure a unanimously-agreed resolution when it comes to the vote on Friday to ensure it sends the strongest possible signal to all parties involved in conflicts in Sudan.

The council has already passed two resolutions threatening to impose sanctions on Sudan's government if it does not disarm the militias in Darfur.

But aid agencies and human rights groups say they have had no effect in calming the violence.

The Nairobi meeting will also discuss the situation in Somalia.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International warned that uncontrolled arms exports were fuelling abuses in Darfur.

The human rights group has called for the Security Council to impose a strict arms embargo on Sudan.

This week, the BBC broadcast evidence of mass killings in Darfur, where more than 1.5 million people have been displaced.


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