UN/AU envoy says Darfur remains volatile

New York, US (PANA) - The Joint Special Representative of the UN/AU Mission in Darfur,
Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on Wednesday in New York said that the security situation in Darfur remains volatile, amid fighting between Sudanese government forces and rebels, a recent spate of attacks against peacekeepers and an upsurge in inter-ethnic violence.

"As we enter the 10th year of the conflict in Darfur, it is evident that the only solution will be a political one,” Mr. Chambas told the UN Security Council at a session on Darfur.

He also called for intensified efforts to accelerate the peace process, which he said was
being implemented at "an unacceptably slow pace".

"While considerable progress was made throughout the years to bring down the initially great casualty numbers and to craft a peace process, much more remains to be done,” he said.

The envoy also stated: "The parties to the conflict who have courageously embraced the path of peaceful settlement must be encouraged, supported and protected."

Mr. Chambas said that the recent inter-ethnic clashes are "particularly worrying", as the
increased militarization and proliferation of arms among civilian populations in Darfur and the deterioration in the humanitarian conditions for host communities and displaced populations has led to more deaths, injury and displacement.

He also disclosed that the inter-ethnic clashes have led to more casualties than the fighting between the Sudanese government forces and non-signatory groups this year.

"The clashes have also led to four attacks against UNAMID peacekeepers over the past four months. The most recent incident occurred on 13 July, when seven Tanzanian peacekeepers were killed and 17 other members of the mission were injured in a roadside ambush.

"UNAMID has continued to strongly encourage all parties to these inter-ethnic conflicts, and relevant civil society actors, to enter into dialogue with a view of addressing the root causes of the clashes and developing a common vision for their resolution," he stated.

Mr. Chambas also added that the mission and government are supporting local mediation
initiatives to facilitate reconciliation and peaceful co-existence.

He also reiterated the UN’s support for the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) which, negotiated with the support of the Government of Qatar, forms the basis for a
permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting.

The Sudanese government and two major rebel groups have committed to the DDPD,
while The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed on last year, and the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM) signed a framework agreement in January 2013.

The envoy further stated that during his negotiations with regional leaders, three heads of State from Uganda, Tanzania and Chad agreed to persuade non-signatory groups to renounce violence and come to the negotiating table with the Government of Sudan without preconditions.

"Hopefully this would lead to formal talks with the Government of Sudan,” he said.

"This conflict cannot, and will not be won by force of arms, but can only be resolved through an all inclusive political dialogue.

"Those who are still holding out should be persuaded to agree to start talks with the
Government of Sudan without preconditions. For this to happen, your continued support and engagement is necessary,” Mr. Chambas told Council members.

Since the beginning of this year, the renewed violence in Darfur has prompted more than 250,000 people to flee their villages and abandon their livelihoods, and the inter-tribal clashes have strained the ability of humanitarian organisations to reach vulnerable families.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 24July2013

24 july 2013 19:51:08

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