June 5, 2007 / 4:44 PM / 13 years ago

Sanction Sudan like apartheid South Africa, Tutu says

By Ingrid Melander

BRUSSELS, June 5 (Reuters) - The international community should press Sudan to end the conflict in Darfur with the same kinds of sanctions used to isolate apartheid South Africa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said on Tuesday.

"I support wholeheartedly the imposition, in the face of intransigence, of specific targeted sanctions on Khartoum," Tutu, former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, told EU lawmakers during a hearing on Darfur.

"Especially when they are targeted, sanctions are effective, they worked for us," Tutu, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his opposition to apartheid, told reporters after the hearing.

International experts say 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur and 2 million more have been forced from their homes since a rebellion broke out in Sudan’s west in February 2003.

Sudan, which puts the death toll at about 9,000, has been accused of arming militias blamed for atrocities in Darfur and for failing to approve U.N. plans for a peacekeeping force to secure the vast region.

Tutu said the international community should ban Sudanese ministers and senior officials from travelling, and impose an embargo on their funds. He urged the EU to stop its companies from operating in Sudan and to impose a no-fly zone over Darfur.

Tutu pointed to the role international diplomatic and financial pressure played on ending apartheid in South Africa in 1991. Trade and investment in South Africa were blocked, International Monetary Fund loans were affected, as were U.S. aid programmes.

"Sanctions were a very important weapon for us," Tutu said.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, a U.S. anti-landmine campaigner, testified along with Tutu and urged the EU not to wait for what she called "an elusive U.N. Security Council resolution" to take tougher sanctions on Khartoum.

Both Nobel laureates urged the EU to do more to support the African Union troops in Darfur with cash and logistical help.

The United States recently announced tighter unilateral sanctions against Sudan. Existing EU sanctions on Khartoum include an arms embargo and restrictions against members of the Sudanese government.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss Sudan on June 18. They have in the past called on the U.N. to consider strengthening its sanctions.

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