More than 30,000 people have been killed since two rebelfactions took up arms against the Sudanese government in February2003, escalating years of low-level conflict between Africanfarmers and Arab herders who compete for water and land.
The rebels, drawn from African tribes, rose upagainst the Arab-dominated government, claiming discrimination andpolitical marginalization, according to the associated press.
Human-rights groups, Congress, and U.N.officials accuse the Sudanese government of trying to crush therebellion by backing the Janjaweed militiamen, allegations thegovernment has repeatedly denied.
The Sudanese government, which was given 30days by the United Nations to arrest Arab militiamen or facepenalties, appealed Monday to the Security Council to make a”reasonable decision.”
“Of course, we are concerned,” ForeignMinister Mustafa Osman Ismail said in a television interview. “We wish the relationship with the Security Council will not be theway of confrontation. We hope it will be in the form ofcooperation.”
Three U.N. teams reported on Tuesday to U.N.Secretary-General Kofi Annan on whether the government is doing allit can to disarm the Arab militiamen. The Security Councilwill meet Thursday and consider whether to take action against theSudanese government. The United States has advocatedsanctions.