Sudanese Government agrees to deal to take steps to disarm Darfur militias

6 August 2004

The Sudanese Government has finalized an agreement reached earlier this week between its Foreign Minister and the senior United Nations envoy to the country, paving the way for Khartoum to take detailed steps in the next 30 days to disarm the militias accused of conducting deadly attacks against civilians in the troubled Darfur region.

A statement issued by a spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the accord – reached Wednesday between Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative – and said Mr. Annan attached great importance to “substantive and verifiable progress” being made during the next 30 days towards restoring full security for the Darfur region.

“He looks forward to swift and sustained action by the Government of Sudan to implement the commitments that have been entered into in the action plan and the joint communiqué of 3 July,” the statement added.

A formal copy of the agreement will be signed by the two officials and issued Monday, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters in New York.

Mr. Pronk has voiced hope that if the agreement is implemented, the Security Council would see Khartoum was making "substantial progress" towards meeting previously expressed commitments to disarm the notorious Janjaweed and restore security.

In a resolution adopted last Friday, the Council said it would consider steps under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which range from imposing economic penalties to severing diplomatic relations, if the Sudanese Government did not make progress on those commitments.

Meanwhile, Mr. Eckhard said the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights hopes to deploy all eight of its observers to Darfur's three regions, as well as in Khartoum, over the next few days.

In neighbouring Chad, where about 200,000 refugees have fled to escape the Janjaweed attacks and fighting between Government forces and two Darfur rebel groups, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has started work on constructing a camp at Treguine in the Adre region.

About 17,000 refugees are expected to be transferred to the Treguine camp, which is being established to relieve overcrowding in a UNHCR camp at Breidjing.

 

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