UN agrees to back AU peace efforts in Sudan

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- The African Union (AU) and the United Nations hav e agreed to jointly back the former South African President Thabo Mbeki-led high - level talks aimed at ensuring a smooth management of the upcoming referendum vot e in the Sudan, officials said Thursday.
African Union Commission Chairperson Jean Ping has taken the lead in ensuring th at the two organisations hold a common stance during the entire process leading t o the referendum vote, in which the Southern Sudan would vote to remain united w i th the larger Sudan, or secede.
â?The AU and the UN have agreed to harmonise their positions on Sudan and work together as a team,â? said Noureddine Mezni, the AU Chairpersonâ?s Spokesman.
The two organisations, one representing continental interests, and the other, re presenting worldwide interests, have been at odds on how to tackle the wider cri s is in the Sudan, especially the crisis in Darfur, since the issuance of an arres t warrant against President Al-Bashir, which the UN supports.
The AU has argued the arrest of Al-Bashir would upset the ongoing peace efforts and risk the progress made in achieving overall peace and stability in the entir e Southern Sudan region.
Mezni said the formation of the Consultative Forum on the Sudan was one such way of having the two organisations to work hand in hand to deliver peace in the Su d an.
He said Ping had recently chaired a meeting of the two organisations, during whi ch they agreed to jointly support the work of the Mbeki panel, originally design e d to address the crisis in Darfur.
The AU formed the High-Level Panel on Darfur as an effort to deflect the interna tional pressure for the arrest of President Al-Bashir, mandating it to look into the issues of justice, peace and reconciliation.
The UN backs its efforts and the UN Security Council has recently offered its su pport for the panel.
Meanwhile, the joint Consultative Forum, which met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, las t weekend, issued a December deadline for the signing of a comprehensive peace a g reement between the Sudan government and Darfur rebel movements, which have been meeting in Doha, Qatar, to discuss peace.
â?While the security situation in Southern Sudan remains relatively calm, the m eeting noted with concern the humanitarian challenges facing Sudan,â? the Forum said in a statement Thursday.
They stressed the need to put in place contingency plans in case of population m ovements within Sudan and the broader region.
The AU and the UN welcomed the commitment of the Parties to respect the outcome of the referendum, complete the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) and ensure a peaceful and stable Sudan in the aftermath of the referendum.

11 november 2010 14:05:00

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