IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM UN's EGELAND: Abuja pact only hope for Darfur
The Darfur peace deal signed in Abuja last week is the only hope to end the conflict in Sudan's vast west and if it is not enforced the region will spin out of control, the top UN humanitarian official said today:
"If it is implemented, we (the UN and aid agencies) could start planning for recovery and a return home of the more than 2 million refugees," said Jan Egeland, the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs.
"If it is not, it will mean a downward spiral which will get totally out of control and go into the abyss," he added.
Photo: Jan Egeland, the UN top emergency relief coordinator, says he is optimistic the agreement to end the conflict in Darfur can work. But he warns of serious consequences, if it is not implemented. The UN official also appealed to Sudan's government to approve deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. See VOA report by Lisa Schlein 15 May 2006. (AP photo)
May 15 2006 Reuters Get on board Darfur peace deal or become irrelevant: "Should they embark on any action or measure likely to undermine the Darfur peace agreement, especially the ceasefire provisions, the Council should take appropriate measures ... including requesting the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against them," Chair of AU Commission said in a statement. AU chief Darfur mediator warned Nur he would become irrelevant unless he accepted an agreement already signed by his rival Minni Arcua Minnawi, leader of the biggest SLA faction. "In every situation where people have not been on board, eventually they will have to come on board or become irrelevant," Salim Ahmed Salim told Reuters.
May 15 2006 Sudan Tribune SLA's Nur urges AU to consider its demands: In a letter sent yesterday to the Chair of AU Commission Oumar Konare, the leader of a faction of the main rebel SLA Abdelwahid al-Nur called the AU to put pressure on the Sudanese government to sign a supplementary document related to their demands - and also indicated the three demands of the faction (see report to read demands)
May 15 2006 Reuters/ST Sudanese govt rejects Darfur SLA-Nur demands: "We received a response from the Sudanese government and it was not positive enough for us to go ahead and sign," said Ibrahim Madibo, a close adviser to Nur who is still in the Nigerian capital Abuja, where the peace talks took place. Nur wanted the government to meet his key demands in an annex accord, after which he would sign the broader peace deal.
May 15 2006 Sudan Tribune AU raises sanction against holdout rebels, urges Sudan to accept UN force: The AU gave two holdout Darfur rebel groups a 24-hour deadline to sign a peace deal with Sudanese government or face UN sanctions. Also it urged Sudan to accept a UN force in Darfur. AU commission chair Konare said AU would ask the UN Security Council to slap sanctions on the JEM and a faction of the SLA unless they signed the deal by Tuesday, when it is set to be implemented. "I call on them to hasten to append their signatures, without any conditions, to the document, before its implementation on 16 May 2006," he told a meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council.
May 15, 2006 BBC (Jonah Fisher) Can Darfur's peace survive? - No-one was expecting Darfur's peace agreement to bring about an immediate transformation on the ground. But the short time since the deal in Abuja have shown the size of the challenge ahead. "We need to survive the next few weeks and that is through the African Union and humanitarian activities," Mr Egeland said. "It's not over. We all need to seize the opportunity now to enforce peace." Sudan has yet to approve the sending of UN peacekeepers while funding shortages mean that Darfur's food rations for May have been cut in half.