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Disappointment At Continuing Violence In Darfur

Ban Ki-moon 'deeply disappointed' at continuing violence in Darfur

13 May 2008 - Ongoing military activities by Darfur's rebel groups as well as reprisal actions by the Sudanese Government and its allied militia are costing lives and limiting humanitarian operations in the strife-torn region, the United Nations Secretary-General says today.

In his monthly report to the Security Council on the joint African Union-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, Ban Ki-moon says he is "deeply disappointed that the parties continue to resort to violence and thus perpetuate the conflict in Darfur" that has raged since 2003.

He adds that he is "extremely concerned about the security situation in the Chad-Sudan border area," and calls on Khartoum and N'Djamena to implement, without delay, the agreement on relations between the countries signed in March, and to restore order in the border area.

In Darfur, he writes that the violence is severely constraining efforts to move toward a negotiated settlement and is also "presenting a fundamental challenge to UNAMID, which is not a peacekeeping force designed to deploy or function in a war zone." He adds that the mission's freedom of movement has been restricted, a violation of the status-of-forces agreement with the Government.

Mr. Ban states that UNAMID, which replaced an AU-only mission at the start of the year, "cannot be a substitute for political engagement. Progress on the political track is essential if peace and security are to be restored to Darfur."

So far this year, Mr. Ban reports, more than 100,000 civilians have been forced to flee from their homes, many of them not for the first time. In total, more than 2.5 million Darfurians have had to flee their homes in the past five years.

He also says that UNAMID is hampered by significant logistical challenges and insecurity, including banditry along the convoy routes. Movement of equipment by road from Port Sudan to Darfur, some 1,400 miles, currently takes an average of seven weeks.

The Secretary-General also repeats his appeal for helicopters and an aerial reconnaissance unit, as well as increased transport capacity for the mission.

ENDS

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