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Swedish politicians demand EU action over Darfur

Publicerat torsdag 8 februari 2007 kl 15.36
Children at a refugee camp in Sudan after fleeing violence in the country's Darfur region

Several Members of Parliament are calling for Sweden to press the EU for stricter sanctions against Sudan. The UN says 200,000 people have died and two million have been forced to flee their homes during the past four years.

Members of Sweden’s centre-right alliance, which won power in the last election, also think it is time for the government here to act on the issue.

The Liberal Party’s Birgitta Ohlsson says someone needs to take the initiative and being as the UN has failed to do so, the European Union should.

The crisis in Darfur began in 2003 after rebels, who complained Khartoum had been neglecting the area, started attacking government targets. Since then pro-government Arab militias have been accused of war crimes against Darfur’s black African residents. The Sudanese government has rejected UN attempts to take-over peacekeeping in the region.

Trade sanctions could hit Swedish interests in Sudan, such as the oil company Lundin Petroleum, which Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt owns shares in. His stock ownership has come under the spotlight recently, especially over concerns about those he holds in a firm which is tied to a gas company which plans to build a gas pipeline through Sweden’s economic zone in the Baltic Sea. The Constitution Committee is going to look into Bildt’s stock ownership later in the year.

The Foreign Minister has not commented on the calls for him to meet his EU counterparts to suggest tough action against Khartoum.

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