AU, UN envoys to hold consultations on Darfur peace process

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- The United Nations and African Union envoys spearheading e fforts to bring peace to Sudan's war-wracked Darfur region will hold informal co n sultations early next week with regional partners and international observers in a bid to find new momentum for the political process.
Jan Eliasson of the UN and Salim Ahmed Salim of the AU will meet in Geneva with the regional partners next Monday and then with the international observers on T u esday, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters, according to a UN statement r e leased in Accra on Friday.
She said the aim of the consultations was to review the current status of the po litical process in Darfur given both the prevailing security situation and delay s in the parties' preparation for substantive talks.
The two special envoys hope to reach an understanding with the regional partners and the international observers on the road ahead for the political process, Ms .
Okabe added.
Recent attacks in West Darfur, particularly from Sudanese Government forces and allied militiamen, have displaced thousands of people and led senior UN official s to issue public warnings about the deteriorating conditions in the region.
A hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force known as UNAMID has been in place across Darfu r since the start of the year, having replaced an earlier AU-only force, to try t o quell the violence and the humanitarian suffering.
Okabe said the Egyptian contingent of UNAMID was starting to deploy this wee k, arriving with an advance team of 72 and accompanying equipment.
The first com p any of 158 people is due to arrive later this month.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.
2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003 because of fighting between rebels, Government f o rces and allied militia known as the Janjaweed.

14 march 2008 20:35:00

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