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UNAMID chief urges firm international backing for Darfur peace

By United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 29, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Darfur region of Sudan currently faces an important moment of transition and the African Union along with the international community need to act decisively and collectively to consolidate the political and humanitarian gains made recently as well as encourage further progress, Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator ad interim, Ibrahim Gambari, the head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said yesterday.

JSR Ibrahim Gambari told the African Union's Peace and Security Council (PSC) that renewed violence would undermine substantial progress made since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) between the Government and the Justice and Liberation Movement (LJM) on July 14.

“The prospects for a resumption of hostilities in Darfur cannot be discounted,” JSR Gambari told a PSC meeting in Addis Ababa. ”Renewed fighting would not only present a challenge to UNAMID's mandate to protect civilians but also seriously undermine the implementation of the DDPD and efforts to conduct a credible internal dialogue.”

JSR Gambari said the Government of Sudan had positively demonstrated its commitment to implementing the DDPD by appointing a Darfuri to the post of Second Vice-President of the Republic and the Head of the LJM, Mr. Eltijani Seisi as Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority.

Noting the increase in belligerent rhetoric against the Government by major armed movements that have not joined the peace process, JSR Gambari added, “It is doubly important that the African Union and the international community stress in words and actions their opposition to the military means chosen to advance political objectives.”

He urged the Council to encourage all parties to the conflict to pursue the path of negotiations and support a credible and inclusive internal dialogue.

JSR Gambari said that while there had been an important reduction in fighting between the Government and the armed movements since he last reported to the PSC in July last year, insecurity still prevailed in some parts of Darfur, resulting notably in the death of four peacekeepers in October and November this year.

Members of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union reiterated their support for the work of the Mission and the efforts of its leadership to advance security, peace and development in Darfur. They also stressed the need for continued attention to be paid to early recovery and development activities in order to provide needed peace dividends to the people of Darfur. They also extended their condolences for the tragic loss of the four UNAMID peacekeepers and called for the Government of Sudan's prompt action to bring the perpetrators of these odious crimes to justice. They also expressed the importance of active engagement by all concerned to ensure the prompt re-initiation of peace negotiations with the hold-out movements.

The JSR also met with Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr. Jean Ping and the Deputy Chairperson of the PSC, Mr. Erastus Mwencha. The Chairperson expressed his support for UNAMID and the JSR Gambari's ongoing efforts to facilitate the peace process between the parties to the conflict.