Violence in Sudan’s Darfur region has subsided into a “low-intensity conflict,” an international envoy said on Monday, but the United States and its allies disagreed, according to diplomats. Briefing the U.N. Security Council, the joint U.N.-African Union special representative to Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, said around 130-150 people were dying each month due to violence in Darfur, a region roughly the size of France.

darfur-con“The situation has changed from the period of intense hostilities in 2003-2004 when tens of thousands of people were killed,” Adada told the 15-member council. “Today, in purely numerical terms it is a low-intensity conflict. “But he also said there was a “high risk of escalation.”

“This risk of active war is ever present, and it is my duty to warn this council about those hazards,” Adada said. Several council diplomats said U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, who has publicly referred to the conflict in Darfur as “ongoing genocide,” disputed Adada’s characterization during a closed-door discussion after his briefing.

“The U.S. delegation took issue with the idea that it is a low-intensity conflict,” a council diplomat said. Another diplomat said the French, British, Austrian and Mexican envoys also disagreed with Adada’s description.

According to figures collected by the U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, some 2,000 people died from violence in the region during the 15 months between January 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, one third of them civilians.



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