New York, US (PANA) - Professor Ibrahim Gambari, the joint Special Representative of the UN/AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said on Friday the peace agreement signed on Thursday between the Sudanese government and a rebel faction in Darfur, Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), was "a significant step forward to resolving the lingering conflict".
The agreement was signed after three years of talks in Doha, Qatar.
Gambari, in a statement issued by UNAMID, said: "The protocol agreement signed in the Qatari capital, Doha, indicates a commitment on the part of the government and the LJM to the draft document that will form the basis of a permanent ceasefire."
It stated that the development would lead to a comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting that began eight years ago.
It quoted the envoy as saying the agreement would facilitate a strong foundation for an inclusive and comprehensive resolution to the conflict.
Gambari, who is the acting Joint Chief Mediator in Darfur, urged the other armed movements of Darfur to sign up to the draft document.
He also said the mission was ready to prepare the ground for an internal political dialogue to involve the people of Darfur in any peace agreement achieved.
"The challenge remains to determine how best to engage and persuade 'hold-out' groups that a military solution to the Darfur conflict is not the way to go, while encouraging them to make every effort to participate in a comprehensive peace agreement as soon as possible,” he stated.
UN estimates that more than 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict between rebels, Sudanese government forces and allied militiamen erupted in Darfur in 2003.
About 2.7 million others have had to flee their homes and both sides have been accused of numerous human rights abuses.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 15July2011