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As Sudan, Darfur rebels sign ceasefire, Ban calls for definitive peace pact

By UN

23 February - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all parties in the deadly conflict in Sudan's Darfur region to agree on a definitive political settlement following the signing of a cessation of hostilities accord between the Government and a major rebel group.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban hailed the agreement signed in Doha, Qatar, by the Government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) as “an important step towards an inclusive and comprehensive peace agreement” for Darfur, where nearly seven years of war between have killed at least 300,000 people and driven 2.7 million others from their homes.

“The Secretary-General looks forward to the full implementation of the agreement's provisions, and encourages all parties to engage in the inclusive Doha peace process with flexibility and political vision, and to agree on a definitive political settlement of the Darfur crisis,” the statement said.

The African Union-UN Joint Special Representative, Ibrahim Gambari, who was in Doha to witness the signing ceremony, commended both parties on their efforts.

“The conflict in Darfur cannot be resolved by military means, but only through an all-encompassing, inclusive political solution through a political agreement that would also involve Darfur's civil society and other stake-holders,” said Mr. Gambari, who heads the joint AU-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID.

“The developments of the past few days and the ceremony we are witnessing here today are a testimony that we are on the right track, although there are many other steps we all need to take towards an all-inclusive comprehensive peace agreement.”

Other rebel groups have still not signed agreements with the Government. Earlier this month Assistant-Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Dmitry Titov reported to the Security Council that two rebel coalitions known as the Addis and Tripoli Groups have shown themselves unprepared so far for substantive negotiations.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim attended today's ceremony, as did President Idriss Deby of neighbouring Chad, African Union Chairman Jean Ping and Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar.