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UN’s Darfur envoy arrives in Sudan to help spur peace negotiations

UN’s Darfur envoy arrives in Sudan to help spur peace negotiations

Salim Ahmed Salim (L) and Jan Eliasson
The United Nations envoy tasked with re-energizing the peace process in the violence-wracked Darfur region has arrived in Sudan for fresh talks on how to kick-start political negotiations between the parties to the conflict.

Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, met the African Union-UN Joint Mediation Support Team (JMST) in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to discuss preparations for the joint international meeting in Libya on the Darfur political process.

That meeting, to be held in Tripoli on 15-16 July, has been convened to assess the progress over the past months towards holding peace talks in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others displaced from their homes amid brutal fighting since 2003.

The meeting will focus on the roadmap, the joint plan of the UN and the AU – whose Darfur envoy, Salim Ahmed Salim, is also expected to arrive in Khartoum this weekend – to solve the conflict between the Government, allied Janjaweed militias and Darfur’s many rebel groups. Peace negotiations between the warring parties mark the third phase of the roadmap.

Mr. Eliasson left Khartoum today for the West Darfur provincial capital of El Geneina for talks with political parties, civil society groups, representatives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and local authorities involved in the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation process.

In a related development, the new AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur was scheduled to travel to Khartoum today to begin his new assignment. Rodolphe Adada will serve as head of the existing AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) until the planned hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping force takes over. He will then head that operation.