As the conflict continues in Sudan's western Darfur region, the UN Security Council met Monday to consider imposing sanctions on individuals deemed to be a threat to the peace or to human rights in the area.
After receiving a briefing by the chair of the Council Sanctions Committee, Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece, the council "expressed its desire to move forward expeditiously on targeted sanctions, which I expect we'll do shortly," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters.
"The purpose of the targeted sanctions mechanism of resolution 1591 is to apply pressure -- and I don't think we should be ashamed to say that -- to people who are violating the arms embargo, not contributing to our effort to establish an effective peace process in Darfur and restore the deteriorating security situation there," Bolton said.
Bolton, whose country holds the rotating council presidency for this month, was referring to a resolution the 15-nation council adopted
Since fighting flared a week ago in North Darfur between the government troops and the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), a large number of villages have been attacked and burned, markets have been looted and people displaced, the UN Mission in Sudan ( UNMIS) said Monday.
UN spokesperson Marie Okabe said Monday that UN special envoy Jan Pronk travelled to South Darfur over the weekend urging the parties there to exercise restraint and protect civilians.
UNMIS was deployed to support the peace agreement for the long- running civil conflict in southern Sudan signed about a year ago. It also has a mandate from the UN Security Council to provide some support to the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
Bolton said the United States has been pushing for the quick passage by the Security Council of a draft resolution it presented, under which the world body would take over the mandate of peacekeeping in Darfur from the African Union.
But he admitted that the council would not take action on the measure soon since most council members hope to wait until after the AU makes a formal decision on the handover.