Annan urges rights council to be impartial on ME

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the global body's human rights watchdog on Wednesday to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an impartial manner, and said it was time to focus attention on "graver" crises such as Darfur. Annan's statement to the UN Human Rights Council came only a day after the 47-nation body rejected an attempt to hold the Sudanese government responsible for halting atrocities in its volatile Western region, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million others displaced since the Darfur conflict began in 2003. The council, which has only criticized Israel in its six months of existence, turned down by a vote of 22-20 a resolution from the European Union and Canada telling the Sudanese government to prosecute those responsible for killing, raping and injuring civilians in Darfur.