Darfur UNAfrican Union mediator welcomes steps towards peace

7 July 2010The joint African Union-United Nations mediator working to help resolve the conflict in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region has welcomed progress made in negotiations between the Government and a key rebel group. Djibril Bassolé told reporters yesterday that he applauds the decision taken by the sides to involve internally displaced persons (IDPs), refugees and civil society, “more generally, to conclude a comprehensive peace accord.”He met yesterday with Ghazi Salah Al-Din Attabani, an advisor to President Omar al-Bashir, who said that a peace agreement between the Sudanese Government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) will be signed in Doha, Qatar, on 15 July.Also taking place in Doha next week is the 2nd Civil Society Forum, kicking off on 12 July.Mr. Bassolé said that he asked Khartoum for its assistance in ensuring that all of Darfur’s civil society representatives invited to that event can travel to the Qatari capital.He also told Mr. Attabani that he would like the Government “to take all possible measures to restore confidence and reduce tensions in Darfur, including seeking an end to all armed hostilities with all armed groups.”In the past seven years an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others have been displaced as a result of fighting between rebels and Government forces backed by allied Janjaweed militiamen in Darfur. All sides are accused of serious human rights violations.The AU-UN peacekeeping force in the region, known as UNAMID, has been in place since the start of 2008, succeeding an earlier AU-only mission in the war-torn region. Its headquarters are in the North Darfur state capital of El Fasher.

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