SUDAN WATCH: Darfur peace talks nearing end - EU says Sudanese gov't and Darfur rebel leaders losing control as new elements wage wars - Onus on Khartoum re CAP

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Darfur peace talks nearing end - EU says Sudanese gov't and Darfur rebel leaders losing control as new elements wage wars - Onus on Khartoum re CAP

Yesterday, the European Union's special representative to Sudan Pekka Haavisto told a news conference that all the necessary elements for making decisions on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security arrangements were on the table at the Darfur peace talks, but reaching a deal was not a guarantee for sustained peace. Excerpts from Reuters report:

"We are now in a situation where it could optimistically be said that the peace negotiations in Abuja are nearing their end," Haavisto said.

"In the European Union, there is a feeling that even if a peace deal is reached in Abuja, the means to realise the peace deal on the ground are lacking if the situation in Darfur worsens," he added.

Haavisto said a major problem was that the Sudanese government and the leaders of armed groups seemed to have lost control, and guerrilla groups had become bandit-like gangs that waged their own wars.

He said the worsening of relations between Sudan and neighbouring Chad was a threat to the entire peace process.

"This is a kind of nightmare that everyone has feared, that the situation in Darfur spreads across borders even more ... It is possible that this will add to the conflict completely new elements," Haavisto said.

When asked about the sustainability of any peace deal reached for Darfur, Haavisto said the onus was on Khartoum.

"We turn to Khartoum. If you want peace with Darfur, you need to work quicker to fulfil the peace deal between the north and the south. This is a question of Khartoum's own credibility," he said.

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