United Nations: A UN Security Council team is visiting Sudan to underline the importance of carrying out the referendum for independence as well as to express concern about the persisting violence in Darfur, which has escalated in recent months.
Speaking in Darfur, diplomat Mark Lyall Grant "expressed the Security Council`s concern over increased levels of violence, the protection of civilians, sexual violence and the illegal flow of weapons," UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told journalists here.
"He (Grant) said that the Council wanted to show its support for the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur," Nesirky said.
Reports said that the council delegation were met by protests that expressed support for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir who has been indicted on charges of genocide by the International Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, a UN peacekeeper was abducted in Darfur on Thursday night as the Security Council made its way to the troubled spot where fighting since 2003 has claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.
Before visiting Darfur, the Security Council went to Juba- the capital of South Sudan-where it met President Salva Kiir who stressed that if the North failed to carry out the referendum on time, the South would go ahead with it on its own.
The Security Council delegates have now moved on to Khartoum.