Francophonie leaders concerned over Sudan, Somalia

Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- Francophonie leaders concluded a summit here by expressing serious concern at the political and humanitarian situation in Eastern Africa, particularly in Sudan and Somalia and pleaded for the restoration of peace in those two countries.
"We express our concern over the prevailing situation in Darfur and we condemn the acts of violence as well as the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law being committed there," reads part of the declaration they issued Saturday at the end of the 11th summit of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF).
They also stressed the urgent need to find, under the auspices of the United Nations, a peaceful solution to this conflict "which has caused a serious humanitarian crisis".
The summit reminded the Sudanese government of "its responsibility to protect its civilian population".
Fighting between Sudan government forces and two rebel groups has killed more than 70,000 people in the western Darfur region since February 2003,leading the UN to classify the conflict as "the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world".
More than one million people have fled into exile in neighbouring Chad to escape massacres being perpetrated by the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militia group.
"We firmly support the co-ordination of humanitarian work being undertaken by the United Nations in Darfur and other unstable Sudanese regions.
We stress the need to reinforce the security of civilians, especially women and children," the final declaration adds.
The OIF welcomed the humanitarian and security agreements signed in Abuja, Nigeria on 9 November under the mediation ofthe African Union (AU), which are expected to simplify the work of humanitarian organisations.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan El-Bashir, whose country does not beling to the OIF, attended the summit in Ouagadougou, where he met several of his counterparts, including President Jacques Chirac of France, Jacques Chirac and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo, the current AU chairman.
On the situation in Somalia, another African hot spot, the Ouagadougou Declaration commended the outcome of the Arta and Nairobi conferences under the mediation of Djibouti and Kenyan authorities.
"In this connection, we appeal to the international community to support the efforts of the new federal transitional government in Somalia," says the Ouagadougou Declaration issued Saturday.
The theme of the two-day summit was "Francophonie, a space of solidarity for sustainable development".

28 november 2004 10:15:00




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