Trocaire and Goal clash on Sudan
DON LAVERY TWO of the country's biggest aid agencies clashed yesterday over the need for western countries to intervene militarily in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan.
The Irish Catholic agency Trocaire warned that the deployment of Western troops in the region devastated by famine and civil war would result in an Iraq-style conflict.
But GOAL's John O'Shea said the only hope of survival for the people languishing in the refugee camps was for unilateral action to be taken by some country - or an alliance of countries - that cared more about saving lives then the rules of international diplomacy and protocol.
Mr O'Shea dismissed efforts by a collective of African countries to deal with the crisis which is costing 1,000 lives a day. He said the African Union had deployed 80 observers, and had said it would send a couple of thousand soldiers to protect the camps, but they were ill-equipped,badly trained and a bigger force would be required.
"Africa has never shown any interest in getting involved in such situations and they are clearly not the people to sort this crisis out," he said.
He said Britain, Australia and Ireland have all indicated that they would contribute troops for an international humanitarian response.
"I have no doubt that others would follow our lead if unilateral action was to happen. If we are going to intervene, though, let's do it as soon as possible. There is plenty of precedence for such action - 35,000 troops were sent in to protect lives in Kosovo, and one of the reasons given for the invasion in Iraq was to put an end to the killings and tortures being perpetrated by Saddam Hussein." The Sudanese government has already warned that it would resist any invasion by Western troops. Meanwhile UN investigators have said it is "beyond doubt" that the Sudanese Government was responsible for widespread killings in Darfur, and that Khartoum was largely to blame for the humanitarian disaster.