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Rice On Darfur

The United Nations Security Council endorses the African Union's deadline for achieving peace in the Darfur region of Sudan. The African Union has set April 30th as the final deadline for reaching an agreement. The Security Council fully supports the A.U.'s demand "that all parties make the necessary efforts to reach an agreement by this date; and reaffirms its determination to hold accountable those impeding the peace process and committing human rights violations."

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003 after rebels complained that the region had been marginalized by the central government. Rebels affiliated with the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, attacked Sudanese government facilities. Supported by the Sudanese government, Janjaweed Arab militia responded by launching attacks on civilians from Sudan's African Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa groups in Darfur. Thousands of people have died since the conflict began. Some two million people have been left homeless.

In July 2005, the Sudanese government and the rebel groups agreed on a declaration of principles, which called for an end to hostilities, the guarantee of tribal ownership of land in Darfur, and increased autonomy for the region. But, despite the presence of seven-thousand African Union troops, the violence continues. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that in Darfur, "The world needs to act":

"We really can't afford to wait. We are doing what we can to support the current African Union mission. . . .But everybody recognizes that that you need a more robust force that's going to come from the U-N and we are pressing very hard to get that moving."

Secretary of State Rice says that the United States, the United Nations, and others are trying "to get a peace agreement as well." She says, "everyone will continue to press the Sudanese government that they need to comply with what clearly is everybody's will, because we need to take care of the people of Darfur."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.