Official Derides Darfur Efforts, Suggests Larger AU Contingent

UNITED NATIONS -- U.S. Ambassador John Danforth said on Tuesday international efforts to stop violence in Sudan's Darfur region were getting nowhere and suggested the African Union field more forces to stop atrocities.

Danforth was speaking after the UN Security Council reviewed a report by Secretary-General Kofi Annan saying that Darfur was in chaos, plagued by banditry, rape and village burnings, with 2.3 million people in desperate need of aid.

"Well, we are getting nowhere with respect to Darfur," said Danforth, a long-time campaigner for peace in Sudan who last month resigned as President George W. Bush's UN ambassador for personal reasons after less than six months in the job.

"We've tried everything. We've tried the carrot approach. We've tried the stick approach, and we are getting nowhere," Danforth told reporters.

"The rebels and the government and the militia, all sides, are complicit in the disaster. They sign agreements that apparently mean nothing at all."

The African Union has pledged 3,300 monitors and troops to Darfur but has only about 800 to 900 on the ground. Danforth said some nations had the "excellent idea" of augmenting the force with police, but did not say who would do that.

"Let's get as many African Union people as we can in there, and let's at least get the full 3,300 that have been committed in there," he said.

Danforth warned that those who engage in atrocities "must be held accountable by the international community."

Washington has pressed in vain to get international sanctions imposed on Sudan's leaders. But while the council has threatened an arms and oil embargo and measures against some individuals, China, Russia, Algeria and Pakistan opposed implementing them.

After years of skirmishes between Arab nomads and mostly non-Arab farmers over scarce resources in arid Darfur, rebels took up arms early last year. In response, Khartoum used Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, who killed, raped and burned down villages, with 1.8 million people now homeless.