Thursday, April 08, 2010

Peace talks to continue in Darfur after weekend elections, AU-UN official stresses

Peace talks to continue in Darfur after weekend elections, AU-UN official stresses
From UN News Centre, Thursday, 8 April 2010:
The joint African Union-United Nations chief mediator for Darfur confirmed today that negotiations aimed at generating a comprehensive peace deal to end the ongoing conflict in the western Sudanese region will continue after Sudanese vote in national elections starting this Sunday.

“The Mediation earnestly calls on the parties to fully comply with the declared ceasefire with a view to promoting confidence among the parties, improving the security and humanitarian conditions in Darfur, creating an environment conducive to negotiations and alleviating the sufferings of the population in Darfur,” Djibril Bassolé said in a statement released jointly with Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Qatar.

In the statement, Mr. Bassolé and Mr. Al-Mahmoud welcomed the Framework Agreement signed between the Sudanese Government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in late February in Doha, Qatar. They also welcomed the Framework Agreement and Ceasefire Agreement between the Government and another rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), signed last month.

The signing of the agreements represents a “quantum leap” and a “crucial phase of the ongoing Doha peace process,” the statement noted.

Last month, Ibrahim Gambari, the Joint Special Representative of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), described the agreement with the LJM as “another important milestone” on the path towards a comprehensive peace pact in Darfur and said it would have an important impact on the security of people on the ground.

Darfur, a region roughly the size of Spain, has been torn by war since 2003, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 300,000 people and the displacement of 2.7 million others. In addition to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan face tensions between its northern and southern regions.

The upcoming elections, the first of their kind in 24 years in Sudan, are seen as a benchmark in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which was signed in 2005 to end the long-running north-south civil war. Voting is due to start on Sunday.

The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which works independently of UNAMID, has been providing technical and logistical support to the Government and the National Elections Commission (NEC) to enable timely conduct of the elections.

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