Top UN official calls for increased efforts on Darfur peace pact

New York, US (PANA) - Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the Joint Special Representative and head of the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Friday in New York, called for stepped-up
efforts to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Sudan's Darfur region, ``as soon as

He also stressed that, ``it is high time for the people of the strife-torn Sudanese region to
resume normal lives''.

Gambari, who spoke at the UN Security Council's meeting on Sudan, said: ``The imperative
of peace is now as the people of Darfur have suffered too long and too deeply''.

He recalled the recent signing of the draft ``Doha Document for Peace in Darfur” (DDPD)
by the Sudanese Government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), saying
that, ``the draft provides the basis for reaching a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive
and inclusive peace settlement in Darfur''.

The draft was endorsed at a conference held in May in Doha, Qatar, that brought together
more than 500 delegates representing various Darfur stakeholders, including internally
displaced persons (IDPs), refugees, civil society and Sudanese government officials.

The UN/AU envoy also said: ``While the signing of the DDPD by the two parties represents
an important step forward in the search for sustainable peace and stability in Darfur, it is
my view that many daunting challenges remain''.

``The first is how to continue engagement of the hold-out armed movements – the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid and the Sudan
Liberation Army/Minni Minawi and the Sudanese government to agree to a cessation
of hostilities.

``The other challenges are to ensure local ownership of the peace process by Darfurians
at the grassroots level through a credible, transparent and free internal political process
and the need for an enabling environment to make possible a Darfur-based process''
Gambari noted.

He also stated: ``These are by no means simple challenges but work on them is already
in progress'', adding that, ``UNAMID will use the intervening period to assist the stakeholders
in the dissemination of the draft document to the population of Darfur to broaden support
for it''.

He, however, said that, ``the challenge for the international community, is to determine
how best to impress on all sides involved in the conflict that a military solution is not the
way to go''.

In his latest report on UNAMID, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that, in the
coming months, UNAMID, the AU, the UN and the broader international community must
be poised to assist the Sudanese government to address the various causes of instability
in the country.

``It will be critical that armed offensives are put aside and political dialogue pursued,” Ban
wrote in the report, which was presented to the council by Gambari.

The secretary-general also noted that the mission would continue to do everything within
its mandate to facilitate the return of peace and stability in Darfur.

He said: ``Robust and increased patrols will remain the rule of the mission, as well as
continuing collaboration with the UN Country Team and humanitarian actors to facilitate
the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities''.

``While a number of displaced people have returned to their homes, there are still some 1.8 million IDPs in Darfur,'' the report added.

The UN said that since 2003, when the deadly conflict erupted in Darfur between rebels,
Sudanese government forces and allied militiamen, an estimated 300,000 people have
been killed and about 2.7 million others displaced.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 22July2011

22 july 2011 19:08:34

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