SUDAN WATCH: Situation at Darfur peace talks in Abuja "still evolving"

Friday, May 05, 2006

Situation at Darfur peace talks in Abuja "still evolving"

May 6 2006 US Department of State report -- The situation at the Darfur peace talks now under way in Abuja, Nigeria, is "still evolving," but the United States hopes that this will be a "good and hopeful day" for the people of Sudan and Darfur, says U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. Excerpt:

McCormack again cautioned reporters that even if an agreement is reached on paper, there will be a need to implement that agreement, and "that," he stressed, "is going to require as much if not more work on the part of the parties involved and the international community."

"We will be right there," he pledged, "to see that it is implemented, but first we have to get signatures on a piece of paper -- and, at this point, I am not aware that we have that quite yet."

Asked what happens if only one party signs on to the accord, McCormack said: "You continue to move forward. ... If that is in fact the case, you continue working the political process.

"There is no substitute," he stressed, "for a political accommodation -- a political settlement -- in order to ultimately solve the grave humanitarian and security issues that exist there. ... Ultimately, you are not going to solve the issues in Darfur absent that political agreement."

Asked if the P5 (the five permanent representative countries on the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia) might be consulted on the issue, McCormack said, "It could very well come up" with regard to the P5, but he said he did not expect the Quartet to take up the issue.

He told reporters that the British government has suggested a possible meeting on Darfur at the United Nations in New York, which he termed a "very interesting idea."

McCormack added, however, that the current U.S. emphasis is on the Abuja talks and "making those work and doing what we can to see that they move forward."

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