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Darfur: Ban Welcomes Sudanese Government Ceasefire

Darfur: Ban welcomes Sudanese Government ceasefire, plan to disarm militias

12 November 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the Sudanese Government’s declaration today of an immediate ceasefire between its forces and the rebel movements in Darfur and also Khartoum’s stated plan to disarm allied militias operating in the war-torn region.

“The Secretary-General stresses that the effectiveness of any ceasefire depends upon all parties demonstrating their commitment to a cessation of hostilities, particularly since past efforts to uphold a ceasefire in Darfur were not successful,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

“He further emphasizes that the international community continues to have high expectations that the Government of Sudan and the rebel movements will make concrete progress towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict.”

The Secretary-General stresses that the effectiveness of any ceasefire depends upon all parties demonstrating their commitment to a cessation of hostilities, particularly since past efforts to uphold a ceasefire in Darfur were not successful

Rebel groups have been fighting Government forces in Darfur, an arid and impoverished region bordering Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR), since 2003. In those five years an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others displaced from their homes.

The Government forces have been supported by militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, who have been accused of human rights abuses in their attacks on villages and other civilian targets.

Since the start of this year a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (known as UNAMID) has been in place in Darfur to try to quell the violence and the humanitarian suffering.

When it reaches full strength, UNAMID should have about 26,000 uniformed personnel, including just below 20,000 troops. But it currently has only around 10,000 personnel deployed, and senior UN officials have repeatedly called on countries to supply the remaining troops and equipment that are needed.

An Egyptian heavy transport company, comprising 139 soldiers and 16 officers, arrived today in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state, as part of UNAMID’s efforts to bolster its forces. The arrivals join an advance group of seven from that company who were already on the ground.

The Egyptian company’s main task will be to support the distribution of cargo between sector logistics bases, the movement of bulk cargo such as water and fuel tankers, and the provision of transport and engineering capabilities.

ENDS

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