SUDAN WATCH: Darfur negotiators lack urgency, cease-fire could collapse in Darfur, U.N. envoy says

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Darfur negotiators lack urgency, cease-fire could collapse in Darfur, U.N. envoy says

Warring parties in Darfur are showing no urgency in the search for a political solution, the top U.N. envoy in Sudan, Jan Pronk, said Wednesday.

The Sudanese government expressed impatience at the rebels' stalling tactics. "We feel they are wasting our time, and I think we have been patient enough. I think this should be their last chance to show whether they are ready to negotiate," said government spokesman Ibrahim Mohammed.

Pronk added that a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding the violence stop in Darfur and a humanitarian protocol drawn up in April meant the two sides need not discuss the issues of aid access and security, which had stalled the previous round of talks in Abuja and continued to block progress in the Nigerian capital this week.

"Don't discuss it anymore -- just do it so that you can discuss political issues, political objectives," he said.

Pronk, who leaves Wednesday for New York to give a monthly briefing on Darfur, said ordinary civilians and aid workers were suffering as talks dragged on.

"Insecurity and violence and violation of human rights is on the rise ... we are hardly able to stop it, and parties do not seem to be willing to stop it on the ground," he said, adding rebels and not the government were impeding aid access to the diseased, hungry and destitute refugees.

Pronk warned if the talks in Abuja did not make progress, the cease-fire, which each side has accused the other of breaking, could collapse in Darfur.

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