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UN Sudanese Officials Evaluate Situation In Darfur


New York, Aug 12 2004 2:00PM

The top United Nations envoy for Sudan was set to co-chair today the third meeting of the joint body that is monitoring Khartoum's progress in disarming government-sponsored militias in Darfur, protecting more than 1 million people forced to flee from their homes and improving the humanitarian situation.

During this evening's meeting of the Joint Implementation Mechanism (JIM), Jan Pronk, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, and co-chair Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail were to discuss the implementation of the 3 July joint communiqué and the Darfur Plan of Action, including the identification of areas in Darfur that are to be made secure and safe in accordance with that blueprint.

The action plan, which the two officials agreed to last week, commits the Government to take "detailed steps" in the next 30 days to disarm the Janjaweed militias that have been attacking villagers, improve security for the 1.2 million people internally displaced within the vast Darfur region, which is roughly the size of France, and alleviate what some senior UN officials have described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

In preparation for today's talks, Mr. Pronk met yesterday with the Foreign Minister, when they also discussed the issue of procedures for humanitarian flights in Darfur that had been causing delays in delivering assistance.

Mr. Pronk welcomed the Foreign Minister's agreement to an accelerated set of procedures that would apply to passenger, cargo and helicopter flights. The new rules would facilitate essential humanitarian air operations, including airdrops of food and the rapid deployment of emergency relief teams to remote areas.

Also yesterday, during Mr. Pronk's press encounter with the media in Khartoum, he was asked about reports of air attacks in Darfur. "Attacks as reported have to be checked; when they took place, where they took place, we are checking that at the moment. Information is necessary but is has to be very concrete," the UN envoy replied.

2004-08-12 00:00:00.000

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