Darfur peace process entering crucial phase, UN official tells Security Council

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)

KKhartoum April (Sudanow)  – The peace process to resolve the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan region has entered a crucial phase with parties to the dispute considering texts of key elements that would form the basis of a draft comprehensive agreement, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today, a press release by the UN security Council says.

Briefing the Council, Atul Khare, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that the Qatari mediators also intended to present a draft comprehensive peace agreement by 27 April to the three parties fully engaged in the Doha peace process – the Sudanese Government, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).

It said Mr. Khare told the Council that the parties are now considering texts of the main elements of the agreement which include wealth and power sharing, return and compensation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), justice and reconciliation, human rights and fundamental freedoms and security arrangements.

Mediators have also indicated that a “stakeholders conference” bringing together representatives from the various interested parties in Darfur will be held in Doha from 18 to 23 May. The conference is intended to drum up consensus on the provisions of the envisaged comprehensive peace agreement.

On the planned Darfur-based political process (DPP) envisaged as a way to strengthening the popular support for the outcome of the Doha peace process, Mr. Khare stressed that it “must take place in an environment that will guarantee its credibility” through ensuring unhindered participation by all.

“The intention of the Government to lift emergency law will go along way toward fulfilling these conditions,” said Mr. Khare.

He voiced concern over the continuing refusal by two key Darfurian rebel leaders – Minni Minawi and Abdul Wahid al-Nur – to participate in the Darfur peace process.

“The full support of the international community continues to be required to reconcile Minni Minawi and Abdul Wahid with the negotiation process,” Mr. Khare told the Council.

Turning to the situation inside Darfur, Mr. Khare told the Council that the UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) had received reports of a build-up of Sudanese Government forces in the north-western areas of North Darfur.

The Government informed UNAMID that the increased troop movement was a precautionary measure prompted by the current instability in Libya, Sudan’s neighbour to the northwest, and concerns over the proliferation of arms and rebel activity.

Mr. Khare also told the Council that three crew members of the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) remain in captivity 98 days since they were abducted in the Um Shalaya area of West Darfur on 13 January. “The United Nations continues to work with the Government to secure their release,” he said.

He pointed out that there was a decrease in hostilities in Darfur last month, but voiced concern over tensions in North and South Darfur. UNAMID access to the Jebel Marra area has also increased with four patrols and humanitarian assessment missions reaching the area in March




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