Darfur peace talks to resume on Oct 27

Updated: 2007-09-07 15:01

KHARTOUM -- Peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels to resume on October 27 in Libya, announced here Thursday by visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (L) and Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir stand together at a joint press conference after meeting in Khartoum. [Xinhua]

A joint communique issued by Ban Ki-moon and al-Bashir after their talks in Khartoum stressed the importance of reaching apolitical solution to the conflict erupted in the western Sudanese region in February 2003.

"It is welcomed that invitations will be issued by the UN Secretary General and the African Union (AU) commissioner for the resumption of the peace negotiations on October 27," the joint communique said.

Although the date and place of the next negotiations have been defined, it is still unknown whether all the rebel groups in Darfur will agree on their participation.

The UN and the African Union had promised in July that the UN secretary general and Alfa Omar Konare, the AU commissioner, would send by the end of August invitations to the parties concerned to attend the next round of the Darfur peace negotiations.

The deadline was missed because of differences among the Darfur rebels, whose factions have increased to more than a dozen from three during the past year.

Some of the Darfur rebel groups agreed to resume the peace talks within two to three months during their meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, in last month, while some others boycotted the Arusha meeting and have not announced their positions on the next negotiations.

In the communique, the UN chief also called on all the parties to "fully cooperate" with the UN and AU special envoys for Dafur in order to guarantee the holding of the negotiations as soon as possible.

As for the expected deployment of the hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping forces in Darfur, Ban Ki-moon vowed that the UN would do its best with the AU and the Sudanese government for the deployment of the UN-AU joint peacekeeping force in Darfur "at a suitable time" in order to consolidate the peace in the region.

The Sudanese president welcomed the visit of the UN secretary general in his country, underlining the importance of the visit in fortifying the partnership between Sudan and the UN for realizing the peace, stability and development.

He reiterated that the Sudanese government would cooperate with the UN and AU special envoys in preparation for the peace talks, and would "constructively take part in the negotiations."

Al-Bashir also announced that his government would work with the UN and AU for facilitating the implementation of the joint peacekeeping operation of the two organizations in Darfur.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on July 31 authorizing the deployment of the 26,000-strong AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping forces in Darfur.

The Sudanese government and the AU have agreed that a majority of the peacekeepers will come from the African countries.

Ban Ki-moon arrived in Khartoum on Monday on his first official visit in the African country since he took office in January this year.

During the visit, The UN chief held two meetings with the Sudanese president and paid a field tour in southern Sudan and Darfur.

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