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Negroponte calls for Darfur action

April 17, 2007 at 10:49 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 17 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government is engaged "in a deliberate campaign of intimidation" against aid workers, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said Tuesday.

In his first visit to the region, Negroponte toured the strife-torn Darfur region and criticized the Sudanese government for its response.

"When it comes to humanitarian access, the government of Sudan's record is not encouraging," Negroponte told a news conference in Khartoum. "The denial of visas (and) the harassment of aid workers have created the impression that the government of Sudan is engaged in a deliberate campaign of intimidation."

Negroponte urged Khartoum to disarm the Janjaweed, the Arab militias terrorizing Darfur refugees, and to allow additional U.N. and African Union peacekeepers into the region.