A new ceasefire commission for Darfur held its inaugural meeting today, with the head of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in the war-torn Sudanese region saying it plants the seeds for enduring peace.
“The work of the Cease Fire Commission is vital for the implementation of the peace agreement,” UN-AU mission (UNAMID) head Ibrahim Gambari told the meeting in El Fasher, referring to the accord signed last month in Doha, Qatar, between the Sudanese Government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), one of several rebel groups in the vast region.
UN officials hope that other groups will now sign the accord and finally end a conflict between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen that has killed an estimated 300,000 people and driven about 2.7 million others from their homes since it erupted in 2003. Both sides have been accused of numerous human rights abuses.
“The commission carries on its shoulders the dreams of many for rupture with the past and the hopes of many more for a better future for their children and communities,” Mr. Gambari said.
Chaired by UNAMID Force Commander Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba and comprising senior Government and LJM officials and a representative of Qatar which hosted the peace talks, the CFC will monitor violations of the agreement, various older accords and dialogue among parties that have signed, as well as ensure the safety of those implementing the accords.
Mr. Gambari pledged UNAMID’s full support for implementing the agreement which he said “provides a unique opportunity for a new beginning… It plants the seeds for enduring peace and paves the way for a better tomorrow for all Darfuris,” he said.
The CFC’s next meeting is scheduled for 8 September to build on the momentum of the inaugural session.
UNAMID has some 23,000 uniformed personnel on the ground.