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Darfur: UN, AU Peace Envoys Talk With Partners


Darfur: UN, African Union peace envoys hold talks with regional partners

The United Nations and African Union Special Envoys for Darfur are meeting tomorrow in Egypt with regional partners to the peace process in the war-torn Sudanese region to assess the progress so far and help forge agreement on the way forward.

Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim will hold talks in the town of Sharm el-Sheikh with representatives of Chad, Egypt, Eritrea and Libya, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters.

The meeting is the latest step in the efforts of the UN and AU to broker a comprehensive peace accord to quell the violence and humanitarian suffering in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others displaced since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied militia known as the Janjaweed in 2003.

The UN and AU are deploying a hybrid peacekeeping mission (known as UNAMID) to Darfur at the start of next year to take over from the existing but under-resourced AU mission (AMIS), but objections and obstacles raised by the Sudanese Government and a lack of offers for critical force units have left the deployment in jeopardy, senior UN officials warned last week.

Tomorrow Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim will brief the four countries on the latest developments in the three-part peace process, which began in late October with formal talks in Sirte, Libya, and then moved into a second phase last month with consultations and meetings with some of Darfur's various and often splintered movements.

The third phase will bring the movements together with the Government for full talks on the key issues, including power-sharing, wealth-sharing, the humanitarian situation and security conditions.

Meanwhile, in Khartoum the head of AMID and the AU-UN Joint Special Representative Rodolphe Adada met with a senior Sudanese Government official at the weekend to review the outstanding issues to the deployment of UNAMID.

Mr. Adada and Mutrif Siddiq, the Chairman of the Government's technical committee for the implementation of the mission, focused their discussions on the allocation of land to UNAMID within Darfur, the use of El Fasher airport for mission operations, expediting the process of releasing mission communications equipment and the details of the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA).

ENDS

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