Peace talks to end Darfur conflict in trouble: UN

June 25th, 2008 - 1:59 am ICT by IANS  

New York, June 24 (DPA) The chief UN mediator in negotiations to end the ethnic conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region said Tuesday neither the Sudanese government nor the rebel groups trust the process and do not believe that any peace pact can be implemented. Jan Eliason, a former Swedish foreign minister and president of the UN General Assembly, said also that the implementation of another peace agreement, between the Arab-led regime in Khartoum in the north and the Christian government in the south, has an important influence in the peace process in Darfur.

“Against this background, it is with much regret that I report today that we are at a troubled state of affairs in the political process,” Eliason told the UN Security Council in a formal meeting to review the situation in Sudan.

Eliason and the African Union’s Salim Ahmed Salim, the two principal mediators in the Darfur negotiations, presided over talks that began in Sirte, Libya, in October involving most parties in the conflict, which has killed more than 300,000 people since 2003.

Eliason said the African rebel groups in Darfur, which are fragmented, have a genuine lack of trust in Khartoum to implement any peace accords.

He and Salim decried the continued fighting and dire humanitarian conditions in Darfur and have called on Khartoum to exercise maximum restraint in the region. They asked Khartoum to demonstrate commitment in the political process to end the conflict.

Eliason said the north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which the UN said has lagged in implementation, has “far-reaching implications” in terms of confidence-building and power-sharing arrangements in Darfur.

He also said the Darfur conflict cannot be settled unless Sudan and Chad normalize their relations.

He also called for a more rapid deployment of the joint UN-AU peacekeeping operation in Darfur, which has so far deployed fewer than 10,000 military and civilian personnel out of the authorized ceiling of 30,000.

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