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Rice condemns inaction on Darfur

March 7, 2009 at 12:46 PM

UNITED NATIONS, March 7 (UPI) -- A top U.S. diplomat says Sudan's decision to expel 13 humanitarian aid agencies threatens to worsen an already desperate situation.

"This callous step threatens the lives of innocents already suffering from years of war and upheaval," said Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Rice commented Friday after the U.N. Security Council failed to agree on a statement asking Sudan to reverse its decision to expel the agencies, the BBC reported Saturday. China, Sudan's ally and key trading partner, reportedly objected to asking Sudan to reverse the expulsions.

The meeting was the council's first since the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant Tuesday accusing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of war crimes in Darfur.

The council already has indicated it is divided on suspending the war crimes case against Bashir, with China and Russia favoring suspension of the case and the United States, France and Britain saying there is no reason to halt the proceedings, the BBC reported.

The ICC warrant is the first of its kind served against a sitting head of state, the BBC reported.

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