'Limited progress achieved in Darfur peace process'

New York, US (PANA) - The UN/AU Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, has said the situation in Sudan’s Darfur region is marked by limited progress in the peace process, a troubling security situation and the continued need for substantial humanitarian assistance.

"The security situation in Darfur and threats to UNAMID and humanitarian personnel continue to be a serious concern," Chambas told the UN Security Council on Wednesday via teleconference from Khartoum, the Sudanese capital.

"Further complicating the situation are the inter-tribal conflicts that continue to plague the region and have led to a large number of civilian casualties, mass displacement and attendant humanitarian tragedy," he said.

Chambas said while UNAMID continued to facilitate the delivery of relief assistance by humanitarian actors to affected communities, instances of denial of access and restriction of movement, as well as bureaucratic impediments remain a challenge that negatively impacts this effort.

On the peace process, Mr. Chambas reported that he remained engaged with the movements that have yet to sign the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

The DDPD forms the basis for a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting and to find common ground for advancing the peace process.

Only the Sudanese government and two major rebel groups have committed to the DDPD so far, while the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed on last year and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) endorsed a framework agreement in January 2013.

The UN/AU envoy also disclosed that the agreement between the government and JEM-Bashar was yet to gain traction.

However, he said that the leaders of JEM-Gibril and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi have reiterated their commitment to peace and a negotiated political settlement in Darfur.

Also briefing the Council, the UN Under Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Herve Ladsous, said in addition to presenting safety and security challenges for UNAMID and aid personnel, the intensification of conflict has increased the need for protection and humanitarian assistance among the civilian population.

Mr. Ladsous said efforts were ongoing with troop- and police-contributing countries to ensure the uniformed personnel deployed to Darfur are "properly equipped, trained and prepared" to operate in the very challenging security environment.

"To ensure that the mission has the resources, configuration and procedures it needs, the UN has begun a review of UNAMID, in consultation with the AU, the results of which are expected in February," he said.

He, however, said that despite the very challenging circumstances, UNAMID remained resolute in its commitment to provide much needed protection to civilians, facilitate the delivery of aid and provide support to the peace process.

In his latest report to the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the predominant source of the "grave" insecurity affecting several parts of Darfur was currently inter-communal fighting.

"Such fighting has constrained access, led to the destruction of property and diverted resources and attention away from recovery, reconstruction and development," he said.

PANA reported that civilian protection is a core mandate for UNAMID, which was established by the UN Security Council five years ago to help stem the suffering in Darfur, where an estimated 300,000 people have died since 2003 due to fighting between rebel groups and government forces and their allies, militiamen known as the Janjaweed.
-0- PANA AA/SEG  24Oct2013

24 october 2013 06:55:11

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