UN, African Union officials meet with non-signatories to Darfur peace accord

UN, African Union officials meet with non-signatories to Darfur peace accord

Senior officials from the United Nations and the African Union (AU) have met with the non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) to discuss next steps in the political process aimed at ending hostilities in the strife-torn region of Sudan, the UN Mission in the country said today.

Over the past week, the UN-AU Joint Mediation Support Team, led by the UN’s Pekka Haavisto and the AU’s Sam Ibok, has held talks with groups based in North Darfur and in Asmara, according to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

The DPA, which covers security, wealth-sharing and power-sharing, was signed in May 2006 between the Sudanese Government and part of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) with the aim of ending the fierce fighting in Darfur.

The team met with Eritrean officials in Asmara to discuss the next steps of the political process as outlined in the road map presented by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s envoy, Jan Eliasson, which calls on all parties to cease hostilities and prepare for forthcoming negotiations.

Together with Eritrean officials, the team also met with First Vice President Salva Kiir in Juba in southern Sudan on 2 July to discuss the role of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the political process.

Mr. Ban has said there are four main tracks in which the UN is addressing the Darfur crisis: humanitarian, political, peacekeeping and development.

At a press conference in Geneva yesterday, he called for stepping up the political process, which includes implementing existing agreements.

On the planned UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping operation, he said, “the people in Darfur have suffered too much and the international community has waited too long. It is now high time for us to take necessary action and I hope that the Sudanese Government will implement faithfully the commitment they have made.”

Meanwhile in Accra, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said on Monday that attention must be paid not only to fighters but also civic players in Darfur. “Apart from the factions, there is also a need to be more inclusive,” she told reporters. “There are women’s groups and there are other civil society organizations and these have to be part” of the solution.

“This is a process that will take a bit of time but the two envoys have clearly set up a road map which we think is going fine and the United Nations is very much part of the support,” she said.