UN chief hails talks on Darfur hybrid force

Addis Ababa- Ethiopia (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday expressed optimism at the progress made in resolving the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, saying talks with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had yielded good results.
The UN is pushing for the urgent deployment of a hybrid peacekeeping force in Darfur, comprising troops of the African Union (AU) and the UN, which had stalled previously over Khartoum's insistence on reshaping the modalities for the deployment.
"I held useful talks with the Sudanese President Bashir on the importance of a timely deployment of the hybrid force," Ban told a news conference here Tuesday.
"President Bashir welcomed the deployment of the joint team in February and I urged him to cease the hostilities in Darfur because no more time can be wasted," the UN chief added.
Earlier, in his address to the African leaders attending the 8th AU Summit here, Ban noted that an urgent agreement was needed to break the deadlock over the deployment of a 17,000-strong AU/UN peacekeeping force.
The UN and AU had agreed on the hybrid peace support mission in Darfur after a series of talks in Addis Ababa, leading to a three- phase action plan to deploy the troops.
"I have discussed in-depth the second phase of the process and it is moving, the political process is moving, the whole process may be moving slow, but we are moving in two directions," Ban told journalists, on the sidelines of the AU summit.
The UN boss said he had held talks with several leaders, including the Chairperson of the AU Commission Alpha Konare, who would be sending a peace delegation to further the talks on the deployment.
Ban and Konare have agreed on a joint mission of UN Special Envoy Jan Eliasson and AU Envoy Salim Salim to Khartoum and Darfur in early February to support peace-making efforts.
President Al-Bashir welcomed this mission, Ban disclosed.

30 january 2007 11:00:00

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