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Darfur: UN chief renews call on all parties to return to peace talks

By UN

9 August - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today renewed his call for all parties to the

conflict in Darfur to cease hostilities and participate in the ongoing efforts to bring about a

peaceful, negotiated settlement to the fighting that has wracked the Sudanese region for

over seven years.
Government forces have clashed with members of the Justice and Equality Movement

(JEM) in recent months, contributing to a deterioration in the overall security situation in

Darfur. The rebel group has withdrawn from peace talks held in the Qatari capital as the

fighting resumed and is yet to re-engage.
“We have consistently urged the Government and the JEM to refrain from violence and

return to the negotiating table, and we will continue to do so,” Mr. Ban stated at a news conference at United NationsHeadquarters in New York.

Last month, the joint UN-African Union mediator for Darfur, Djibril Bassolé, lamented the fact that the main Darfurian rebel groups are not participating in the Doha talks.

“The absence of both the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid at the negotiation table and the ongoing fighting in Darfur are putting at risk the chances for a definitive and stable peace,” Mr. Bassolé stated.

Meanwhile, efforts are continuing to ease recent tensions in the Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in South Darfur state that arose last month after the conclusion of the latest round of Doha talks, with some groups contending they were unrepresented.

Mr. Ban reported that the head of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Ibrahim Gambari, is working closely with the Government to bring down tensions in the camp, which is home to more than 100,000 IDPs.

Mr. Gambari has been meeting with senior Sudanese officials in recent day to discuss the situation, voicing his concern at recent events in the camp and their possible negative impacts on the peace process. Kalma has been off limits to humanitarian agencies since the recent tensions began.

He continued his talks today in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, where he met with Government officials as well as UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Alexander Aleinikoff.

Some 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and another 2.7 million others displaced from their homes since fighting erupted in Darfur in 2003. Government forces, allied Janjaweed militiamen and rebel groups have all been accused of grave human rights violations.