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mia farrow

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October 29, 2008

US accuses Sudan of duplicity in Darfur

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Sudan has violated an embargo on arms transfers to its war-torn Darfur region and disguised planes to look like U.N. humanitarian aircraft, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday.  Speaking at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Darfur, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad accused Khartoum of a litany of duplicitous actions, all of which he said had been documented by an expert panel of the U.N. Sanctions Committee. They included "violating the limited arms embargo on Darfur, using aircraft painted to resemble U.N. humanitarian aircraft, (and) conducting offensive overflights in Darfur."
He also accused Sudan of "not accepting that there is no impunity for war crimes and crimes against humanity" -- a reference to Khartoum's refusal to hand over two men indicted by the International Criminal Court for mass murder in Darfur.

The U.N. under-secretary-general for field support, Susana Malcorra, told the council that her new targets assumed that 60 percent of UNAMID's full mandated strength of 26,000 would be deployed by the year's end.Malcorra said a previous U.N. goal of 80 percent of full UNAMID deployment by the end of this year had been unrealistic. That would be reached by the end of March 2009, she said.  "These new revised targets reflect a scaling back of initial extremely ambitious projections," she said. "The new targets are still ambitious but in our view can be achieved."

The United States complained for months about the slow deployment, blaming it on Sudanese obstructionism and U.N. bureaucracy. But Washington's special envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson told Reuters he welcomed the revised targets.
"We're encouraged that we should have at least 3,600 more UNAMID troops in Darfur by the end of this year," he said.

U.N. officials have dismissed suggestions that they have moved slowly with the deployment of UNAMID, which was created in July 2007. They accuse troop-contributing countries of not providing badly needed military hardware like helicopters.
The council also discussed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's new report on UNAMID, in which he says up to 300,000 people have been forced to flee violence in Darfur this year.

According to U.N. estimates, a recent increase in violence in North Darfur alone has displaced at least 40,000 people.

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