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Home >> World
UPDATED: 13:09, May 06, 2006
Roundup: International community hails Darfur peace deal
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Many countries and international organizations on Friday lauded the peace deal signed between the Sudanese government and a major rebel movement in Darfur.

The agreement showed that notable progress had been made in international efforts to end years of bloodshed in west Sudan.

In a statement released by his spokesman, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the agreement and stressed that all the parties should seizes this historic opportunity to bring the tragic conflict to an end.

He said the implementation of the complex agreement would require an immediate strengthening of the African Union Mission (AMIS) in Sudan so that it would be able to implement critical elements of the Abuja agreement until the transition envisaged by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations could take place.

Annan also appealed to the parties to "implement their commitments in good faith so as to stop the bloodshed and ongoing violence in Darfur," and to "cooperate with AMIS and the United Nations on the ground."

The agreement, which was reached after two years of hard talks between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) under the mediation of the AU, appeals for the disbandment of rebel forces and the disarmament of the government-backed "Janjaweed" militia.

However, SLM spokesman Seif Eldin Haruon said the group still had concerns over whether the Sudanese government was ready to share power.

The rebel groups took up arms in Sudan's arid Darfur region in February 2003, accusing the government of negligence. Many people have been killed in the conflict and more displaced.

In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana welcomed the signing of the long-awaited peace agreement and urged those who had not signed to reconsider their positions.

"This is most certainly a major development for Darfur, for Sudan and for the entire African continent," said Solana in a written statement.

Solana appealed to all the parties present in Abuja to implement the agreement immediately and in full and "do so resolutely and sincerely."

"The European Union's support to the African Union will not waver over the coming months, which will be fundamental to the implementation of the peace agreement and therefore to the return to stability," he added.

The United States praised the peace accord as a "significant step" but said more efforts were needed to end fighting.

"This agreement is a significant step in a long process to bring peace to all the people of Darfur. We urge Khalil Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality Movement and Abdul Wahid Nur of the SLM to join the peace process," The White House said in a statement.

In London, Britain also hailed the peace deal as "very significant" to help the strife-torn Darfur region.

"This is a very significant agreement which means that the process of bringing peace to Darfur can now begin," British International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said in a statement.

"The real challenge now is to turn the agreement into peace and a better life for the people of Darfur," Benn said.

Source: Xinhua


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