U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice vented her frustration at the failure of the U.N. Security Council to reach agreement on a statement condemning the escalating violence and civilian deaths in Darfur:
We’re really quite deeply disappointed that the Security Council after over a week of effort couldn’t reach consensus on a clear presidential statement that would have condemned the increased bloodshed in Darfur…We had hoped to have a presidential statement that would have spoken with one voice in condemning the ongoing violence.
Who blocked the Council from issuing a unanimous presidential statement? Yes, you guessed it, it was Libya. AP reports that Libya objected to explicitly calling for the Sudanese government to halt their aerial bombing raids on South Darfur.
It goes without saying that it is a bad sign that the Security Council was unable to reach consensus on a ceasefire statement; if the Council can’t agree on this sort of document, decisions over peacekeeping mandates and other complex matters may prove to be a nightmare in coming months.