The US administration is dispatching a senior US diplomat to South Africa to secure its support on a proposed Security Council resolution slapping sanctions on Khartoum.
Kristen Silverberg, the Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization, is expected to hold talks with South African officials during her visit on the additional measures needed to force Sudan to accept deployment of UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.
In a speech before the US Holocaust Memorial Museum last week, Bush warned Khartoum that it has a “few weeks” to allow a UN-AU force into Darfur before it moved to punitive measures unilaterally and through the UN. The US president added that he instructed his secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to prepare a new UN draft resolution to impose new sanctions on Sudan.
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the agenda of Silverberg’s will be strictly focused on Sudan’s sanctions resolution. South Africa holds a non-permanent seat in the Security Council through 2008. McCormack added that Silverberg’s visit has been slightly delayed to enable her to hold more discussions with US Secretary Rice.
The ‘Financial Times’ reported last week that US & UK officials believe if they win the support of the African blog in the Security Council (Congo, Ghana and South Africa) then it is unlikely that China would use its veto to block a sanctions resolution on Sudan.
Last week South Africa’s UN envoy Dumisani Kumalo voiced his country’s opposition to any sanctions on Sudan by saying that "It is very surprising that they [US & UK] would be bringing up sanctions when Sudan has just made great improvements on the request of the UN for the heavy package".