AU chief hails Qatar deal on Darfur peace building

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union has welcomed the signing of a goodwill accord between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebels and urged the negotiators to sustain the pressure towards a final settlement to end the Darfur war.
African Union Commission President Jean Ping said on Wednesday the signing of the goodwill agreement between the two rival Darfur factions to set the ground for substantive dialogue of a ceasefire in the region was welcomed and should be sustained.
The AU chief said the signing of the agreement should pave the way for an all-inclusive dialogue with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Government of Sudan (GoNU) which have been warring in the western region of Darfur for six years.
The deal, signed by both sides, sets the ground for the negotiations on the nature of a comprehensive solution required to end the fighting in Darfur, which has been continuing in the recent months despite the launching of substantive talks.
Mediators say the increased fighting in the face of the substantive negotiations has always been meant to shore up one side and use the military power as a way to shift and gain more political capital at the negotiating table.
The signing of the Goodwill and Confidence Building accord in Qatar was meant to shower confidence for the start of the talks between the rebels and the government.
JEM refused to sign an earlier pact reached with the rebels in Darfur in 2006 in Abuja, despite months of appeal from the international community on the need to end the fighting in Darfur, which started in 2003 before the signing of a deal on Southern Sudan.
Sudanese factions have been engaged in months of fighting across the various regions of the country, mainly fighting against exclusion from the central government and the running of the country's affairs, which they say has been dominated by Khartoum.
The Darfur rebel insurgency kicked off in 2003 several months to the signing in 2005, of a comprehensive peace accord between the GoNU and the former southern rebels, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), which rule southern Sudan today.
Ping praised JEM and GoNU for their efforts in finding a solution to the crisis in Darfur and urged them to sustain these efforts towards a final settlement of the crisis.
Some 2.
5 million people have been displaced in Darfur and thousands have been killed in aerial bombardments and other military attacks around the villages of Darfur.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is expected to decide on the issuance of an arrest warrant against the Sudanese President Omar El Bashir.

18 february 2009 17:02:00




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