Libya to host Darfur peace talks

Dates for new peace talks announced as UN chief wraps up visit to Sudan.

Ban Ki-moon was on his first official visit to Sudan[AFP]
Ban Ki-moon was on his first official visit to Sudan[AFP]

The joint statement said the United Nations “expresses the hope that parties will co-operate fully” with UN and African Union (AU) mediators.
Eight rebel groups are expected to be invited to the talks but there was no immediate word from as to whether they would attend.

Significant announcement

“This is far from a PR trip on the part of the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon,” Andrew Simmons, Al Jazeera’s Africa bureau chief, said.

“It is significant in that the announcement has been made that the Sudanese will engage in talks with these groups in Tripoli on October 27. 

A 26,000-strong joint UN-AU force will replace
the troops currently in Darfur [UN PHOTO]

“Whether or not all the rebel groupings will be there remains to be seen,” he said.

Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur, founder of the Sudan Liberation Movement, has previously said he will not take part in fresh talks until the promised peacekeeping force is in place.

The choice of Libya as the venue for the conference marks another step in its re-emergence on the world stage after years during which it was ostracised for alleged sponsorship of terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
“The Libyan government has been playing a very constructive role”, Ban said, and he and Alpha Oumar Konare, AU Commission chairman, were “of the same view that Tripoli could work as a good place.” 

International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died and more than two million have been driven from their homes in Darfur since the conflict broke out in 2003.


Khartoum puts the death toll at 9,000.


A 2006 peace deal between Khartoum and one rebel faction failed to quell the violence in the western region.


Peacekeeping force

In July, the UN Security Council approved a plan for 26,000 UN and African Union peacekeepers to take over from a smaller and ineffective AU force currently operating in Darfur.


Ban has said that the UN-AU force cannot be effective unless “there is a peace to keep”.

During his visit, the UN chief held talks with Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, and leaders of key Darfur rebel factions.


He also visited a refugee camp in Darfur to acquaint himself with the humanitarian crisis on the ground.


It was Ban’s first official visit to Sudan since taking over as the UN chief.


The UN describes the Darfur conflict as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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