Ban welcomes progress towards possible peace agreement in Darfur

By United Nations

Welcoming the progress made during peace talks aimed at resolving the eight-year conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the parties to the fighting to now make the necessary compromises to secure a lasting peace.

The All Darfur Stakeholders Conference, held in the Qatari capital, Doha, wrapped up earlier this week with delegates voicing support for a draft document that would form the basis of a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace pact.

Delegates said significant progress had been made on several fronts, including power sharing and the administrative status of Darfur, human rights, compensation and the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban welcomed the outcome of the conference, noting it laid the basis “for reaching a permanent ceasefire and inclusive peace settlement, and sustainable peace and stability in Darfur.”

An estimated 300,000 people have been killed since the conflict between rebels, Government forces and allied militiamen erupted in 2003 and about 2.7 million others have had to flee their homes. Both sides have been accused of numerous human rights abuses.

In today's statement Mr. Ban urged the parties to immediately end hostilities, sign a ceasefire and “make the compromises necessary to reach a sustainable peace.”

He also thanked Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, and other international partners for the support they have given to the joint African Union-United Nations mediation efforts.