Khartoum’s Ultimatum

Khartoum has dug itself deeper into opposition of Security Council Resolution 1706, which calls for a robust United Nations peacekeepers force to replace the African Union force in Darfur. So desperate is Khartoum to prevent the implementation of 1706, they have issued an ultimatum to the African Union: block the United Nations from taking over the mission in Darfur, or face expulsion on September 30th, when their mandate runs out. Meanwhile, a clearly emboldened Khartoum has launched a major military offensive in Darfur, in clear violation of May’s Darfur Peace Agreement. From Egypt, Kofi Annan harshly criticized Khartoum’s recent actions.

“The international community has been feeding about 3 million people in camps and if we have to leave because of lack of security, lack of access to the people then what happens? The government will have to assume responsibility for doing this and if it doesn’t succeed, it will have lots of questions to answer before the rest of the world,” he said

It’s clear that the safety of three million Darfuris in refugee camps is not top on the minds of those who orchestrated the genocide in Darfur. Key member states (including Security Council members that abstained from resolution 1706) must demand that the regime halts its offensive and acquiesce to the peacekeeping force detailed in 1706. However, the clock is ticking. In weeks, not months, three million people could begin to starve to death in forlorn IDP camps in western Sudan should Khartoum’s intransigence continue.