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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia, China May Oppose U.S.-Backed Sanction Plan

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States and its allies are expected to face opposition from Russia and China in the UN Security Council for sanctions to pressure government, militia and rebel forces to end the bloodshed in Sudan's Darfur region.

Junior diplomats on Tuesday were expected to begin a "walk through" of an eight-page U.S.-drafted resolution that authorizes a large peacekeeping force in southern Sudan in hopes that a recent landmark accord there will spur peace in Darfur in the west.

Negotiations on the resolution are expected throughout the week and U.S. officials are hoping for a vote by the end of the month.

Council sources anticipate opposition from Russia and China, which have veto power, as well as Algeria. All three have rejected previous calls for sanctions to give Khartoum more time to rein in a pro-government militia, blamed for much of the killings, rape and pillaging.

The draft calls for an asset freeze and travel ban on those responsible for the violence in Darfur, where tens of thousands have died and 2 million people have been made homeless in two years of escalating fighting.

Half of the resolution deals with authorizing a more than 10,000-strong peacekeeping force for southern Sudan, with the power to protect civilians from the imminent threat of violence. The force is to prop up a Jan. 9 peace agreement that ended 21 years of a north-south civil war.

The new UN mission in Sudan, called UNMISUD, would be in place for an initial six months while UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan explores options on how to assist an African Union force currently monitoring violations in Darfur. But diplomats did not expect UN blue-helmeted soldiers in Darfur.

At least nine out of 15 council members prefer the new International Criminal Court in The Hague, which Washington rejects, fearing prosecution of U.S. troops abroad.

Oil sanctions are also threatened if the situation in Darfur deteriorates, but support is lacking to impose them.