Ban Ki-moon welcomes outcome of international meeting on Darfur situation
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the “constructive outcome” of a well-attended international meeting on the situation in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region.
The Special Envoys tasked with re-energizing the Darfur peace process – Salim Ahmed Salim of the African Union (AU) and Jan Eliasson of the UN – convened the two-day meeting in Tripoli, Libya, from 15 to 16 July.
“The meeting reconfirmed the strong international support for the AU/UN leadership role in negotiations towards a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Darfur,” Mr. Ban said through his spokesperson.
The participants at the gathering – attended by 18 nations and organizations, including Chad, China, Libya, Norway, Russia, Sudan, the United States, the European Union and the League of Arab States – pledged their unequivocal support and commitment to the AU/UN-led Darfur peace process, in partnership with regional leaders.
Next month, the two Special Envoys will convene another meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, after which invitations will be issued to the parties to commence political negotiations later in August.
Expressing his determination to “move forward expeditiously” with carrying out the Darfur political process roadmap, Mr. Ban strongly called on “all parties to engage in good faith in forthcoming political negotiations in order to achieve lasting peace and bring this terrible tragedy to an end.”
Mr. Eliasson has just wrapped up a visit to Sudan, where he met with Government authorities, representatives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and civil society groups, as well as with UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local authorities.
He told reporters in Khartoum today that he has been assured by the Government and a “great majority” of the non-signatories – with the exception of “one dissenting voice” – that they are prepared to enter negotiations.
“This is the hope for change among the population and we hope that this opportunity will not be missed,” the Special Envoy said at the headquarters of the UN Mission in Sudan, known as UNMIS.
“We will keep the door open for those who may not want to enter this process, but we hope that they will understand that time is of essence and we need to move soon,” he added.
Mr. Eliasson stressed that he and his AU counterpart, Mr. Salim, have made great effort to bolster ties with civil society and representatives of IDP camps, as the two do not want this to be a “process that is driven from the top to the bottom.”
He also noted that at the upcoming Arusha meeting in August, he and Mr. Salim will “require from all a cessation of hostilities, as we have already from the Government and… begin normalization of the situation and preparations for the negotiations.”