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Susan Rice on Muhajiriya

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Susan Rice on Muhajiriya

Posted by John Norris on February 3, 2009

Susan Rice on Muhajiriya

From Susan Rice, as reported by Reuters:

"The United States is gravely concerned by reports of intense aerial bombardment," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Darfur and other issues.

"The (U.N.) secretariat reported 28 bombs dropped just this morning in Muhajiriya," she said.

Rice said Sudanese forces were bombing the town even though the rebel forces had withdrawn to a distance of some 31-37 miles (50-60 km) from Muhajiriya and proposed turning the area into a demilitarized zone where U.N.-African Union peacekeepers, known as UNAMID, could deploy to protect civilians.

"Instead, the bombardment continues and the government of Sudan has prevented UNAMID personnel from moving into the area to investigate, impeding the freedom of movement of these personnel which is a violation of the status of forces agreement between UNAMID and the government," she said.
A Sudanese Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected the Justice and Equality Movement’s proposal to withdraw and allow UNAMID to deploy there.

Rice said she was worried the violence would escalate, adding that the council was working on the wording of a demand for a ceasefire and end to the bombing.

Even as Rice continues to assemble her team and sort out office space at the United States Mission to the U.N., she faces a very tough early challenge from the Sudanese government.