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Darfur: UN envoy holds security talks with local leader after armed attack

Darfur: UN envoy holds security talks with local leader after armed attack

A senior United Nations envoy has held talks with the provincial leader in North Darfur about security issues concerning the upcoming hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping mission to the war-wracked region after a recent attack by armed gunmen on members of the existing AU force.

Rodolphe Adada, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur and the head of mission of AMIS, the current AU mission to the region, met yesterday in El Fasher with Osman Mohamed Yousif Kibir, the Wali (Governor) of North Darfur state.

The meeting follows an attack near El Fasher on Friday by four unidentified men against the vehicle of the AMIS military chief of staff. The chief of staff survived the incident but the driver was injured and the vehicle was seized by the gunmen before it was later recovered by Sudanese police.

Mr. Adada and Mr. Kibir discussed measures to be put in place to avoid a repeat of such incidents when the hybrid force, known as UNAMID, takes over duties from AMIS next month.

Senior officials of both UNAMID and North Darfur are scheduled to meet later today to finalize a security plan to protect UNAMID and AMIS personnel and facilities in El Fasher, the provincial capital.

Mr. Kibir reiterated the readiness of authorities in North Darfur to cooperate with the new mission and to provide all necessary facilities to make the mission a success, while Mr. Adada thanked him for the help so far to AMIS.

Meanwhile, in his first press conference since assuming the post, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Sudan Ashraf Qazi has welcomed the recent announcement by the two parties to the landmark 2005 peace accord which ended the long-running north-south civil war in Sudan that they have resolved many of their outstanding issues.

Mr. Qazi told reporters in Khartoum that there are still challenges ahead that the parties, the Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) have to overcome. But he noted that the leadership of both sides were demonstrating impressive determination so far.

“This is a very hopeful sign which encourages us in our own mission,” he said.