African Union Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konare on Sunday expressed concern over the slow pace of the fifth round of inter-Sudanese peace talks on Darfur in the Nigerian capital Abuja.
Konare attributed the slow pace to the entrenched positions adopted by the Sudanese parties in Darfur during the ongoing discussions on the declaration of principles.
According to a statement issued from the AU headquarters, Konare however welcomed the current calm generally maintained by the Sudanese parties in Darfur.
The statement quoted Konare as saying that the Abuja peace talks provide the most viable mechanism to accomplish a negotiated political solution which the core of the conflict in Darfur, having political and socioeconomic nature, calls for.
The talks are being conducted under the authority of Salim Ahmed Salim, AU special envoy and mediator, with the support of Olusegun Obasanjo, current chairman of the AU, teams from the AU Commission, the Republic of Chad and other African facilitators and the observers from AU partner countries.
The statement said Konare believes that the people of Darfur were anxiously awaiting the outcome of the negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace agreement on the more important issues of power and wealth sharing, as well as on security arrangements, to consolidate peace in Darfur.
Konare strongly appeals to the Sudanese parties to extend full cooperation to the mediator and to earnestly expedite negotiations on the power sharing, a wealth sharing and security arrangements issues in good faith, with flexibility, and in a spirit of mutual compromise.
He also appeals to all the international partners to continue to support the Abuja talks and the African Union Mission in Sudan.
Clashes flared up in Darfur in February 2003 when local farmers took up arms against the government, accusing it of neglecting the barren area. Thousands of people have been killed and more displaced in the violence since then.
Rounds of peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels in Abuja have failed to yield fruits.