The mediation team involving the United Nations that is working to advance the Darfur peace process has called on the Sudanese Government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to conclude a ceasefire before the end of this year.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the team – comprised of the UN, African Union and the Government of Qatar – noted that ceasefire negotiations have resumed between the Government and JEM in the Qatari capital, Doha.
The Qatar State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, and the Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, urged the two sides to “conclude a cessation of hostilities agreement before 31 December 2010, and to fully participate in the peace process.”
They also called on Abdul Wahid Nur, whose faction of the Sudan Liberation Army continues to refrain from taking part in the peace talks, to hold his announced consultations to determine his participation in the Doha peace process before the end of this year.
The mediation team also noted that during their recent consultations in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, all stakeholders expressed their support to the Doha process, their readiness to endorse the outcomes from the talks, and their wish to be closely involved in the final phase of the peace process. The team also plans to consult with the refugees in the near future.
“All those consulted particularly stressed the importance of an inclusive process that would deliver a comprehensive and sustainable peace for Darfur. As such they underscored the necessity for all armed movements to participate without delay,” the statement added.
Senior UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly urged all the parties to enter into negotiations in good faith without delay, stressing that only a comprehensive and inclusive negotiated political settlement can bring about a credible cessation of hostilities and address the root causes of conflict in Darfur.
An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes since violence erupted in the Sudanese region in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militiamen.