Russian foreign policy / Conflict situations in Africa


Concerning the Situation in Darfur

On March 29 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1591 on the situation in Sudan's province of Darfur. Russia, as also China and Algeria, abstained from voting. In so doing we were guided by our principled position, the essence of which is that there should be created the most favorable external conditions for settlement in Darfur and in Sudan as a whole.

Russia stands for total compliance with all the demands of the UN Security Council, addressed to the parties in conflict in Darfur. The adopted resolution, in particular, imposes targeted sanctions against particular individuals guilty of violating the peace accords with regard to Darfur settlement. Russia was prepared to support this measure.

At the same time we consider counterproductive the decision to apply to the Government of Sudan strict restrictions that objectively lower its capacity to ensure the security of the civilian population of Darfur, to maintain law and order in the zone of conflict, to disarm nongovernment units, and to arrest those guilty of violations of international humanitarian law. Yet all this is what the Security Council demands.

There are also serious doubts as to the ability to secure effective monitoring of the implementation of the sanction measures against the nongovernment units in Darfur. Against this backdrop and in view of the unceasing violence, those measures could lead to some undesirable military-political consequences for the situation in Darfur and for the process of stabilization in Sudan as a whole.

Russia in principle regards sanctions as a last resort, the imposition of which is justified at a stage when all the politico-diplomatic methods have been exhausted. According to our assessments, the situation in Darfur is complicated, but not hopeless. The Government of Sudan is trying to comply with the demands of the Security Council, encountering considerable difficulties, brought on by the protracted confrontation in Darfur and a shortage of mutual trust.

We feel that decisions by the UN Security Council on Darfur should combine coercive measures against specific violators of the political process with methods of encouraging the parties to engage constructively with the UN and the African Union, to which the Council has entrusted the main role in ensuring the cease-fire regime in Darfur.

Russia will be carrying on its efforts for resolving the situation in Darfur, above all through building up the potential of the African Union Mission and cooperation with it by the future UN Mission in Sudan. Our country intends to take an active part in the United Nations operation with both its military observers and civilian police personnel.

March 30, 2005

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