Sudan vows to resist intervention

“The government will from now on harden its attitude in rejection of any foreign intervention in Darfur and will notify the international community of this position,” Agriculture Minister Majzub al-Khalifa Ahmed told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting.

He also said that all government institutions had been put on alert.

The hardening of Khartoum’s position came as the international community continued to step up pressure on it to end a 17-month conflict between rebels and government-backed militias.

Rebels in Darfur accuse the government of backing Arab Janjaweed militias in an ethnic cleansing campaign against indigenous black Africans.

The United Nations says the conflict has triggered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis which has left around 30,000 people dead and some 1.5 million displaced.

Sudan undertook earlier this month to disarm the militias, facilitate humanitarian action and work for a political settlement, as the UN and the US have demanded.

But in recent days there has been growing international pressure on Khartoum.

The US proposed a draft UN Security Council resolution that would put an immediate weapons embargo on militias and rebels, and threaten sanctions against Sudan in 30 days if Khartoum failed to provide security.

China, Pakistan and others have objected to threatening sanctions against Sudan, while Australia and Britain have said they would consider sending troops to Darfur.

But US Secretary of State Colin Powell said it was too soon to talk of military intervention.

“We should not underestimate what a difficult choice that would be in a sovereign country when there is no UN resolution for any such action and where the government, I believe, still have the ability to take action to bring this violence under control,” he said.

The US is expected to present a new version of the resolution to the Security Council on Tuesday.

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