Nearly two months have passed since a U.S.-brokered peace agreement was signed by the Sudanese government and one of the three rebel groups it is fighting in Darfur. It was clear from the beginning that the treaty would be inadequate without the presence of United Nations troops. Yet as week after week goes by and the death toll mounts, there has still been no agreement providing for that desperately needed international force.
Instead, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has been inventing reasons why U.N. soldiers should not be allowed on Sudanese soil. He claims that a foreign military presence would represent an attempt to recolonize Sudan, and he has blamed "Jewish organizations" for promoting U.N. involvement. He insists, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that the African Union can enforce the peace. But the African Union's 7,000 woefully ill-equipped troops in Sudan are plainly overwhelmed, and their mission is supposed to end on Sept. 30. Time is running out.
If the African Union troops prove insufficient, Mr. Bashir says, the Sudanese government will quell the unrest itself. That is no solution; this is the government that initiated the genocide by sending in janjaweed militias to terrorize Darfur. The real answer is for every country with influence in Sudan to lobby hard for the approval of U.N. forces.
The African Union could help by taking a strong, clear stance this weekend at its summit meeting. It should reaffirm its own determination to end the genocide in Darfur and continue to urge other nations to back an armed U.N. presence.