Cyprus Halts Arms Shipment Likely Headed to Darfur

Reports from Cyprus indicate that authorities there are holding in port a ship suspected of carrying weapons to be used in Darfur, Sudan. The United Nations prohibits transfers of arms to belligerents operating in Darfur, and the European Union prohibits arms shipments to all of Sudan. As violence against civilians in Darfur continues, as peacekeepers there suffer attacks as well, and as many eyes turn to possible violence and even mass atrocities in the South leading up to or following next January’s referendum on secession, it is heartening to see that arms embargoes might be enforced.

The parties to the violence in Darfur and South Sudan need arms—and ammunition, truck fuel, jet fuel, and other goods—from outside Sudan in order to continue. The United States and other countries interested in preventing or ending atrocities in Sudan could apply useful pressure not only on the perpetrators of those crimes, but also to those countries and commercial actors that enable those crimes. If the Cypriot authorities have indeed stopped arms from going to Darfur, they should be not only applauded but imitated.

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Published on June 22, 2010

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