Senior UN official appeals to all militia in Darfur to end fighting and begin talks

1 February 2009
Djibrill Yipènè Bassolé

The chief of the joint United Nations-African Union effort to'' bring peace to Darfur today urged all armed forces in the region to put down their weapons and engage in peace negotiations.

The chief of the joint United Nations-African Union effort to bring peace to Darfur today urged all armed forces in the region to put down their weapons and engage in peace negotiations.

Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, the Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, called on rival factions on the western flank of the Sudan “to consult each other and to work together to create the conditions for peace negotiations, to help resolve the crisis and alleviate the suffering of Darfurians.”

Over the past five years in Darfur around 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed, either through direct combat or a result of disease, malnutrition or reduced life expectancy, while 2.7 million others have had to flee their homes.

Since his appointment in June 2008, Mr. Bassolé has consulted with all parties in a bid to rejuvenate efforts to resolve the conflict that has raged between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen known as the Janjaweed.

Renewed fighting in southern Darfur's Muhajeria area that began earlier this month has exposed about 30,000 people to previously unseen levels of violence, destroyed an aid agency's office and forced the UN to relocate its staff.

Pointing in particular to military clashes involving the Government, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and another rebel group known as the Sudan Liberation Army/ Minni Minawi (SLA/MM), on Thursday Mr. Bassolé called on the parties to cease fighting to minimize civilian suffering and create “a conducive environment for a political dialogue.”

Today he reiterated his call for all parties to refrain from any acts that could jeopardize the on-going peace efforts and, instead, to engage constructively in the search for solutions.

 

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