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U.S. envoy accuses Sudanese government of bombing areas controlled by rebels in Darfur
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09:53, July 14, 2007

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U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Andrew Natsios on Friday accused the Sudanese government of bombing areas controlled by rebels in conflict-torn western Sudanese region of Darfur.

"After a halt in the bombing between the beginning of February and the end of April in 2007, the Sudanese government has resumed bombing in Darfur," Natsios told a press conference following a visit in Darfur.
The U.S. envoy said the bombing by the Sudanese army focused on the Jebel Marra region, a stronghold of breakaway faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdul Wahed Mohammed Nour.

"I think there were four attacks in Jebel Marra Mountains. We are troubled by this, because these have been stable areas before, " the U.S. envoy said.

"This should end and the ceasefire that was agreed to sometime ago should be respected. We urge the Sudanese government to end all bombing in Darfur immediately," he added.

The Sudanese government signed a ceasefire accord with two main rebel groups in Darfur, the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement in April 2004, but violence has continued.

In May last year, the Sudanese government reached a peace deal with the main SLM faction led by Mini Arkou Minawi, but other rebel factions refused the deal, claiming that it had not met all their demands.

The Sudanese government has agreed to resume peace talks with non-signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement "at any time and in any place", but it seems that an incessant proliferation inside the rebel front has made it difficult to restart the peace talks soon.

The U.S. envoy asked the rebel groups to work together with the Sudanese government in order to achieve a solution and realize peace in Darfur.
Natsios meanwhile blamed some rebel leaders for obstructing the political process, adding that Washington was upset by their behaviors.

"Some of them are descending into warlordism and criminality and this is not a good trend in Darfur, which is all the reason why we need to accelerate the political process for a peace agreement," Natsios said.
"Some rebel leaders are cynically obstructing the peace process and the United States government is very disturbed by this. It needs to end now," the U.S. envoy added.

The Sudanese government said that some 9,000 civilians had been killed and about one million people had been displaced since the conflict erupted in the region in February 2003.

Last month, an agreement was reached between the Sudanese government, the United Nations and the African Union on a hybrid peacekeeping operation of the two organizations in Darfur.

The U.S. envoy welcomed the agreement, urging the Sudanese government to take steps in order to facilitate and accelerate the implementation of the agreement.

Source: Xinhua



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