By John Thornhill in Paris
Published: July 20 2007 17:46 | Last updated: July 20 2007 17:46
France and Britain are to send their foreign ministers to New York in a concerted bid to press the United Nations Security Council into urgent action to address the humanitarian disaster in Darfur.
Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president, and Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, said the UN must quickly adopt a draft resolution authorising the despatch of up to 26,000 troops and police to quell the violence in the Sudanese region, where about 200,000 people have been killed.
Meeting for the first time since assuming the top jobs in their respective countries, Mr Sarkozy and Mr Brown expressed their outrage about the human tragedy in Darfur that had also displaced 2m people and left 4m on the edge of starvation.
“This is one of the great humanitarian disasters of our generation. It is incumbent on the whole world to act,” Mr Brown said.
The two leaders said they would be prepared to provide substantial economic assistance to Darfur as soon as the peace process was launched and promised to intervene personally to monitor progress. “Once the UN resolution is passed we are prepared to go together to Darfur to make sure the peace process is moving forward,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Sarkozy said China, which has been a key ally to Sudan, had a particular responsibility to help resolve the crisis in Darfur. “We cannot guarantee success. But what Gordon and I guarantee is that we are determined to shake up the system,” the French president said.
Since entering office, both leaders have put a high priority on tackling Darfur. Bernard Kouchner, France’s foreign minister, visited Sudan last month and hosted a conference in Paris to call for international action on Darfur. Douglas Alexander, the UK international development secretary, is visiting the region.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said on Monday he hoped the UN resolution could be adopted as early as this week.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007