China, Russia resist West's sanctions push for Sudan, S.Sudan

Tue May 1, 2012 9:05am GMT

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - China and Russia are resisting a Western push for the U.N. Security Council to threaten Sudan and South Sudan with sanctions if the two countries fail to comply with demands to halt their escalating conflict, U.N. envoys said.

The U.N. negotiations on Sudan and South Sudan, former civil war foes that split when the south seceded last year, follow weeks of border fighting that have raised fears Khartoum and Juba could launch an all-out war, after failing to resolve a string of disputes over oil revenues and border demarcation.

Delegates from the 15-nation Security Council met on Monday for several hours at the U.S. mission in New York to try to reach an agreement on amending a U.S.-drafted resolution on the two Sudans that council members hope to put to a vote later this week, Western diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

After their discussions, the United States circulated a revised draft resolution that threatens both Sudan and South Sudan with "additional measures" under Article 41 of the U.N. charter, which allows the council to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on countries that ignore its decisions.

"The draft will probably change before it goes to a vote, which we hope will happen on Wednesday," a diplomat told Reuters. "China doesn't want any mention of Article 41."

Beijing, which has close trade relations with both Khartoum and Juba, has traditionally acted as Sudan's protector on the council and for years has shielded it from U.S. and European calls for sanctions due to its handling of conflicts in its western Darfur region and elsewhere in the country.

Russia is supporting China's push to water down the resolution and also dislikes the idea of mentioning Article 41 in the resolution, council diplomats said. Article 41 does not authorize military intervention.


Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir welcomes his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir during his arrival at Khartoum Airport October 8,2011 for his first visit since southern secession to discuss key unresolved issues, including Abyei and oil, that have undermined north-south relations. REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
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