UN and African Union envoys for Darfur crisis hold talks in southern Sudan

UN and African Union envoys for Darfur crisis hold talks in southern Sudan

Salim Ahmed Salim (L) and Jan Eliasson
The United Nations and African Union envoys heading international efforts to resolve the Darfur conflict have travelled to the town of Juba today for talks with the former southern Sudanese rebels as they seek to bring new momentum to the stalled political process.

The UN’s Jan Eliasson and the AU’s Salim Ahmed Salim met with Salva Kiir, Sudan’s First Vice President, and members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Task Force on Darfur, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.

The two envoys also held consultations with the United Resistance Front (URF), a recently-formed alliance that groups together five movements from Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied militiamen since 2003.

Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim briefed their audience today about last month’s meetings in Geneva with the regional partners and the wider international community, and they also discussed the way forward for the political process.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and almost 2.5 million others displaced from their homes in Darfur, and previous attempts to find a lasting peace have faltered or stalled. The UN and AU have deployed a hybrid peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID to try to quell the violence and the humanitarian suffering but so far less than 10,000 personnel – out of the 26,000 expected at full deployment – are in place.

Ms. Okabe said the envoys will visit the Darfur region itself next Wednesday, during which they are expected to meet local representatives of civil society and the region’s other movements.

Yesterday they held talks in the national capital, Khartoum, with senior Sudanese Government officials.