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Sudan: UN Envoy Calls On All Sides To Resume Talks

Sudan: UN Envoy Calls On All Sides To Resume Talks And Refrain From Violence In Ramadan

New York, Sep 25 2006 7:00PM

All sides in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan should mark the Muslim month of Ramadan by resuming peace talks and refraining from the violence that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and driven around 2 million from their homes over the past three years, the United Nations envoy to the country said today.

“The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Sudan, Jan Pronk, has sent a letter to the leaders of the Government of Sudan and all movements involved in military action in Sudan’s western region of Darfur urging them to refrain from hostilities and resume dialogue during the month of Ramadan,” a UN spokesman told reporters in New York.

“He urged them to embrace peaceful dialogue as a gesture of sincerity and goodwill to the innocent civilians who have silently borne the brunt of the violence and insecurity,” added spokesman Stephane Dujarric, speaking at the start of the holy month for the Islamic world.

Last Friday the Security Council, expressing “grave concern” over the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur, extended the mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) until 8 October, while also making known its intention to renew it further, a move that came just days after the African Union (AU) extended its own mission in the strife-torn region until the end of the year.

However, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last Tuesday again rejected a proposed UN force for Darfur as an attempt to re-colonize his country, criticizing August’s Council resolution to deploy more than 17,000 peacekeepers in the region where UN officials warn that a man-made humanitarian catastrophe is looming.

They estimate that over 400,000 people have already lost their lives and some 2 million more have been driven from their homes in three years of fighting in Darfur between the Sudanese Government, allied militias and rebel forces.

ends

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