Leading article: No more grandstanding

Share

The prospects of a United Nations peacekeeping mission arriving in Darfur are fading fast. The Sudanese government is showing no signs of yielding to pressure to allow the deployment. And despite some belligerent rhetoric, notably from the US, there is clearly no international appetite for an invasion. It is also unlikely that China and Russia, Khartoum's allies on the UN Security Council, would allow such an intervention in any case.

The situation is bleak. But it would be premature to conclude that the struggle to protect the refugees of Darfur has been lost. An alternative to the UN force is being put forward by a collection of diplomats and supported by aid workers on the ground. What is proposed is an extension of the existing 7,000-strong African Union mission in Darfur. The President of the European Union Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, appeared to be moving in the direction of such a compromise on his trip to Sudan over the weekend.

This would by no means be ideal. The performance of AU troops in protecting the civilians of Darfur since they arrived in the region has been disappointing. UN troops would be much better equipped and trained. But beefing up the AU force would be far preferable to allowing a security vacuum to emerge again in Darfur. And we should remember that UN support does not have to take the form of manpower. The rest of the world can greatly improve the performance of the AU force by providing supplies and logistical support.

The international community is understandably distrustful of Khartoum. Its argument that UN troops would be an infringement of Sudan's sovereignty are specious given that there is already a UN troop presence in the south of the country to police a separate peace deal. And Khartoum has manifestly failed to deliver on its repeated promises to disarm the Arab militias that have been leading the attacks on the black population of Darfur. But the inescapable fact is that no real relief will come for these refugees without the co-operation of the Sudanese government.

Western leaders should heed Mark Malloch Brown, the deputy secretary-general of the UN, who argued in The Independent last week that the use of "megaphone diplomacy" in this area is counterproductive. It will be much more difficult for the Sudanese government to resist an extension of the AU force, than a UN deployment. As a first step towards ending the crisis, this proposal should be seized upon.

The international community must concentrate on ensuring security for the persecuted inhabitants of Darfur, rather than denouncing Khartoum. Moral grandstanding may be satisfying, but it ultimately delivers nothing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The traditional Boxing Day hunt in Lacock  

For foxes' sake: Don't let the bloody tradition of the Boxing Day hunt return

Mimi Bekhechi
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all