Top UN envoy visits South Darfur, Sudan to talk to local officials, aid workers

Top UN envoy visits South Darfur, Sudan to talk to local officials, aid workers

Jan Pronk
The senior United Nations envoy to Sudan visited the south of the strife-torn Darfur region today to meet humanitarian workers and local officials there and inspect a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Sudan, travelled to Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, where he met the state governor, spokesman Fred Eckhard told reporters at UN Headquarters. Later Mr. Pronk held meetings with aid workers at the IDP camp at Kalma, the site of violent scenes last week.

Mr. Pronk's trip to Darfur follows last night's meeting in Khartoum of the Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM), the body set up by the UN and the Sudanese Government to make sure both sides meet commitments pledged in a joint communiqué on 3 July.

At Thursday's meeting of JIM, Sudanese officials outlined measures they are taking to restore security to Darfur - which has been described as having the world's worst humanitarian crisis - and disarm the Janjaweed militias accused of brutal atrocities, including murder.

The officials said they had deployed 2,000 additional police officers across Darfur, a region the size of France, over the past 10 days, and moved some of its armed forces to avoid direct contact with civilians.

Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail also said Khartoum would soon provide names of the Janjaweed militia operating in areas where Khartoum has influence, as well as information on how many are there.

The Sudanese Government has been given until the end of this month by the Security Council to show it is making progress in achieving its commitments to relieve the crisis in Darfur, or face the threat of action under Article 41 of the UN Charter, which provides for imposing economic penalties and severing diplomatic relations.