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Sudan: Annan gravely alarmed at clashes in Darfur

Sudan: gravely alarmed at clashes in Darfur, Annan calls on parties to respect ceasefire

With the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) reporting banditry, looting and ethnic fighting in Sudan’s western Darfur region, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today voiced grave concern about the worsening situation in the area and called on all parties to respect their ceasefire agreement.

UNMIS has reported “banditry, looting, inter-tribal fighting, clashes allegedly between Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) rebels and tribes, attacks on civilians – destroying wells, which are essential to their livelihood, and forcing thousands more people to leave their homes in addition to the 2 million already displaced – and a further increase in the number of attacks and robberies committed against humanitarian workers,” Mr. Annan said through his spokesman.

The Secretary-General called on all parties once more to respect their agreements and the provisions of international humanitarian law.

The Government of Sudan and two rebel groups – the SLM and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) – signed a humanitarian ceasefire agreement in April of last year.

Mr. Annan urged them to make serious efforts to reach a political settlement in the peace talks taking place in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, before the end of the year.

Noting that the government delegation to the talks included members of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), a former rebel group from the south, he expressed hope that the Government would apply to Darfur the same principles that made the Comprehensive Peace Agreement with the south possible.

He also urged the Security Council and the donor community to pay close attention to Darfur and to do everything possible to assist and strengthen the African Union’s Mission in Sudan (AMIS) deployed there.

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