Posted by: APO | 28 October 2007

UNMIS NEWS BULLETIN

UNMIS NEWS BULLETIN*

26 October 2007

SRSG Ashraf Qazi Meets Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, met today with Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti, in the context of a series of courtesy meetings SRSG Qazi will be holding in the next few days with senior officials from the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan, following his assumption of duties as Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan and head of UNMIS.

Mr. Karti welcomed SRSG Qazi and assured him of the keenness of the Government of National Unity to maintain good working relations with UNMIS. He briefed him on current developments regarding the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and Darfur.

SRSG Qazi assured his interlocutor of his intention to foster existing working relations between UNMIS and the Government of National Unity and to work closely with GoNU and all Sudanese stakeholders towards achieving the objectives of the CPA.

Darfur Talks Open in Sirte, UN and AU Emphasize Dialogue as Only Option to Resolve Darfur Conflict

The Darfur Political Talks opened yesterday in Sirte, Libya with a plenary meeting that was marked by the absence of some movements non-signatory to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA).

In his message to the opening session of the Darfur Peace Talks delivered by his Special Envoy to Darfur, Jan Eliasson, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Darfur. He called on all concerned to work hard and remain meaningfully engaged to find a political solution.

“This will neither be easy nor will it be necessarily quick,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said stressing that “Painful compromises will need to be made by all sides.”

However, he stressed that “violence has continued for far too long, and further delays would be dangerous,” adding that the current state of affairs could deteriorate rapidly.

The Secretary-General also underlined that “choosing dialogue and negotiations over war and confrontation is our only option. There is no military solution to the crisis of Darfur.”

Reminding participants that more than a year has elapsed since the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed by the Sudanese Government and part of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), the Secretary-General said the Sirte talks represent an opportunity to bring an end to the conflict in Darfur.

“The eyes of the world are on you, and hopes of the people of Darfur rest with you,” Mr. Ban said. “Your responsibility and your obligation is to deliver on these expectations.”

He also urged all sides to agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities to demonstrate their commitment to bring an end to the suffering of Darfurians.

The Secretary-General expressed disappointment that some movement leaders have chosen to stay away from Sirte.   “To them, I wish to say that the door remains open, but that if they continue to stay away, there is much they stand to lose”, the Secretary-General said.  “Peace is a process, and any problems or issues should be discussed in Sirte, not elsewhere. We, the international community, will stay the course.”

Emphasizing that the responsibility for bringing peace to Darfur lies with the leaders and people of the region, Mr. Eliasson encouraged those not participating in the Sirte talks to join the process.

“We understand that some of the movements’ representatives need time to consult among yourselves in order to finalize your positions. We know there are efforts on-going to unify your movements,” he said.

Nevertheless, all sides must “be held accountable for their decisions,” the Special Envoy noted.

“There are those who may want to harm the process. We must not fall into this trap. We must all work together to chart the road to peace.”

In his address, AU Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim emphasized that the most compelling reason for the start of the negotiations was the actual situation in Darfur where there has been an escalation of violence manifested in many forms and made worse by the fragmentation of the Movements, inter-tribal fighting, attack on humanitarian workers; criminal attacks on AMIS personnel and in some instances pure acts of banditry.

“Our meeting here today is a timely opportunity to address these issues and what need to be done to reverse this tragic trend and build a new foundation for an end to the Conflict and the attainment of and sustainable peace’, Dr. Salim said

“The outcome that we seek is the one that will address concerns and grievances of people of Darfur including those in the IDPs and refugee camps by, inter alia, creating conditions for them to go back to their lands in safety, security and hope”, Dr. Salim said. He stressed that is was imperative to have an immediate end to the hostilities, not only provide relief to the people of Darfur but also create propitious conditions for negotiations.  

Dr. Salim stated that the hope and expectation of the UN and the AU mediation was to have maximum participation from the movements.  “It is unfortunate that this has not been the case so far” he said, adding that those who did not attend the talks have been motivated by the desire to achieve cohesion within their respective movements, could pursue that objective through consultations in Sirte as part of the Political Process. “In any case, we look forward to their participation as soon as possible”, Dr. Salim said

Dr. Salim welcomed the presence of civil society and community leaders in the Talks and stressed that their contribution, as major stakeholders, will clearly be invaluable.

The plenary session of the Darfur Talks has resumed today.

Security Developments

Darfur

In North Darfur, a convoy of three vehicles (2 UN and 1 INGO) was attacked on 24 October in Donki Shatta Locality (15 km out of El Fasher). Personnel effects were stolen from passengers and one vehicle was carjacked.


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