PositionEuropean Union

"The Council continued its discussion on the grave situation in Darfur, as the eyes of the world were focused on this humanitarian drama", said the EU after its Foreign Ministers met this week.

But the Sudanese Government has asked for more time to bring matters back under control.

And the EU seems ready to give it.

Despite all the EU anguish over atrocities, and its repeated claims that it wants to intervene authoritatively on the world stage, the reality is that the EU is neither willing nor able to do very much to help the victims of the Janjaweed militias.

There are no easy solutions, of course, and many EU governments' attitudes to Africa also continue to be complicated by post-colonial guilt.

But the contrast between good intentions and effective action is flagrant.

The Dutch Presidency programme nobly aspires to "help to make the world a better place", and assigns "a high priority" to "contributions to peace and security in Africa".

The EU Summit of June 17-18 similarly spoke of "the substantial progress made" in conflict prevention, "so as to make the Union more coherent, capable and active in this area". And it reaffirmed its commitment to deepen the EU-Africa dialogue - particularly "in the vitally important area of conflict management and prevention".

But since the United Nations High Commissioner for...

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