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US Fails To Get UN To Condemn Sudan Violence

PTI 13 Aug 2011, 8:02:33 IST

United Nations, August 13: Russia and China blocked U.S. attempts to get the U.N. Security Council to condemn Sudanese government bombing and other military activities in the South Kordofan region of Sudan, U.N. diplomats said Friday.

South Kordofan lies across the border from newly independent South Sudan, and the clashes between government troops from Sudan's Arab north and forces aligned with the south have added to the strained relations between the two countries.

The United States circulated a statement earlier this week which would have condemned the violence in South Kordofan and called for an end to the aerial bombings.

But the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were private, said the U.S. withdrew it on Friday because of Russian and Chinese opposition to any condemnation or mention of aerial bombing. Both countries are allies of Sudan, and China is a major arms supplier and a heavy investor in Sudan's oil industry.

U.S. Mission spokesman Mark Kornblau said: “The grave humanitarian situation in South Kordofan demands a clear and strong response from the Security Council, not a watered-down statement.”

Many inhabitants of South Kordofan fought for the south during the country's more than two decade civil war against the north and are ethnically linked to the south. Thousands of soldiers in the southern army hail from the fertile and militarized Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, whose people practice Islam, Christianity and animism.

The government in Khartoum insists it is not targeting civilians.

Amanda Pitt, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that since early June, at least 200,000 people in South Kordofan have been killed, injured or forced to flee their homes and land by ongoing fighting and aerial bombardments.

Brieuc Pont, spokesman for France's U.N. Mission, expressed regret that the council could not agree on a unified message on the South Kordofan fighting.

“Violence against civilians cannot be met with blank stares from the Security Council,” Pont told The Associated Press. “France will continue to work hard to achieve a clear and strong message on the violence in South Kordofan.”

A spokesman for Britain's U.N. Mission, speaking with customary anonymity, expressed serious concern about “the grave humanitarian situation” in South Kordofan and said: “The Security Council needs to speak with a clear, united and strong voice on this.”

Pitt, who is with the humanitarian affairs office, said the U.N. World Food Program and its partners have delivered some supplies to 123,000 people in South Kordofan, and some supplies are also being delivered outside of areas under Sudanese military control.

But these limited operations are under threat because the prepositioned food stocks are running out, she said. AP