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Senior UN envoy meets SPLM on withdrawal from Sudan Unity Government

Senior UN envoy meets SPLM on withdrawal from Sudan Unity Government

The top United Nations official in Sudan has met with members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) to discuss its recent decision to withdraw from the Government of National Unity.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s acting Special Representative, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, travelled to Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, where he held separate meetings with the Secretary-General of the SPLM, and the President and Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar.

Mr. Zerihoun was encouraged by his interlocutors’ assurances that they will remain engaged in discussions and consultations with their National Congress Party partners, according to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

The decision by the SPLM has raised concerns about the future of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which ended a 21-year civil war between North and South Sudan.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the parties to the accord to “resolve the situation in a manner that preserves the integrity of the Agreement.”

Meanwhile, the UN and the African Union (AU) have provided airlift support for the Darfur rebel movements which have gathered at a SPLM-hosted conference in Juba in preparation peace talks planned for later this month with the aim of ending the conflict that has plagued the war-torn Sudanese region since 2003.

The talks, to be held in Sirte, Libya, on 27 October, are being convened by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for Darfur, Jan Eliasson, and his AU counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim.

Also attending the conference in Juba are staff from the AU-UN Joint Mediation Support Team, who are holding meetings on the sidelines with the movements to discuss their preparedness for the Sirte talks.

More than 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur and at least 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes because of fighting between the rebels, Government forces and allied militia known as the Janjaweed.

Earlier this year the Security Council authorized the creation of a hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force (known as UNAMID) to try to quell the violence. The operation is scheduled to take over from the existing AU mission by the start of next year.

In a related development, the UN announced today that it has awarded Pacific Architect Engineers, Inc. a contract for the initial Multi Function Logistics Services in Darfur for a period of six months in support of UNAMID.

The contract, which is for up to a ceiling of $250 million, covers the establishment of new camps for some 4,100 military and civilian personnel and the provision of camp services including catering, medical, janitorial, welfare and upkeep.