UN still haggling over language

As the violence continues in Darfur, United Nations representatives continue to fight over the language used in the Security Council’s resolution that would send 26,000 peacekeepers into Sudan.

Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, reacted harshly to a version of the draft that circulated at U.N. headquarters last week, calling it “ugly” and “awful.”

On Monday, however, Abdalhaleem declined to comment on the latest revised proposal, which was circulated to Security Council members over the weekend. “The consultations are at a sensitive stage,” he said.

The latest draft removes a specific mention of ongoing attacks by government forces and janjaweed militiamen against civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur and drops a strongly worded condemnation of “continued violations” of the Darfur Peace Agreement.

It also scales back the peacekeeping force’s mandate slightly, removing a section permitting the troops to “take all necessary action” to monitor arms violations in the desert region under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter.

Chapter 7 deals with threats to peace and security and can be enforced through measures ranging from breaking diplomatic and trade relations to military intervention.

As was the case in Rwanda, I can only imagine that these negations will continue to take place until the overall force of the resolution becomes utterly toothless. The greater the pressure from Sudan to clarify sections of Chapter 7, the closer the peacekeeping force comes to being stripped of any authority in the region, making it not only useless for humanitarians and civilians, but even dangerous for themselves.

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