Participants at a United Nations-backed meeting on Darfur have called on all rebel groups to re-engage with the peace process to facilitate a speedy conclusion of the negotiations aimed at bringing peace to the strife-torn Sudanese region.
The meeting, held in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Saturday, addressed the current situation with respect to the so-called Doha peace process, which is hosted by the Government of Qatar, and the prevailing security situation on the ground.
Chaired by Thabo Mbeki, former South African president and chair of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel for Sudan (AUHIP), the talks also focused on how best to proceed on expediting the all-inclusive Darfur Political Process leading to the Darfur-Darfur Conference.
“The parties agreed that in order to quickly resolve the Darfur conflict, it is necessary to initiate an immediate, concurrent and complementary Darfur Political Process on the ground,” according to a note issued by the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
The process will be led by the AUHIP and UNAMID, which convened the meeting along with the Governments of Sudan and the United States.
Senior UN officials have been urging 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.