AL pledges continued efforts to reach political settlement on Darfur issue

07:54, August 03, 2010      

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The Arab League (AL) on Monday reiterated its commitment to continue its efforts to reach a political settlement for Sudan's Darfur crisis and urged the international community to support the option of Sudan's unity.

"The AL stance at the current phase is to focus on the peace efforts and we are aware that realizing peace and comprehensive settlement in Darfur will be a great achievement," said Salah Halima, the AL envoy to Sudan, in an interview with Xinhua.

"Peace should be the target on which efforts of all regional and international organizations focus. If all the international public opinion is supporting the peace, peaceful settlement and stability, then this stance must be supported and enhanced by all parties," he said.

The AL official, meanwhile, criticized the recent move of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which added genocide to the charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, saying that " the ICC decision comes at an inappropriate timing. The focus should be on peace."

He affirmed that the AL would press ahead with its policies aiming at supporting the program of voluntary return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Darfur region and providing them with necessary services.

"The AL has adopted a strategy for the voluntary return of the IDPs. We tend to make this voluntary return an attractive option for them," he said.

He added that the AL has established around 100 fully equipped villages in Darfur, saying that the league would continue its provision of support and services for the IDPs until a peaceful settlement is reached and peace prevails in the region.

"We are planning to build homes for the IDPs, 500 homes in each village. We will also continue in steering medical convoys to support the IDPs in the camps. We further think of involving specialized Arab organizations in our various activities in Darfur, " he said.

Halima further announced completion of three model villages as part of the AL projects in the region, namely Baraka village in North Darfur State, Miraya Janqi in South Darfur State and Habila Kanary in West Darfur State, all at a cost of 2.5 million U.S. dollars.

He added that the AL is considering proposed projects for the coming phase including projects for human capacity building, strategic planning and building the national organizations operating in Darfur.

In the meantime, the AL envoy expressed optimism towards the Darfur peace talks, hosted by Qatar, noting that "there is an international consensus that Doha forum is the only forum that should be supported to achieve a political settlement in Darfur."

"Doha forum has achieved accomplishments that we should acknowledge. Those accomplishments are appreciated by the international community," he added.

"It is known that any negotiations are subject to facing difficulties and the Darfur issue is a complicated one and needs to be supported by all members of the international community. We are optimistic that a comprehensive settlement for the Darfur crisis can be reached through the Doha forum," he said.

The AL envoy urged the Darfur armed movements, such as the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), to sit to the negotiation table, saying that "JEM withdrawal from the Doha talks has affected the security and humanitarian situations in Darfur."

On Sunday, the joint mechanism between the AL and Sudanese government reviewed in Khartoum the general status of the AL projects in the three Darfur States together with the league's proposed projects for the coming phase.

On the sidelines of the two sides' meeting, six mobile clinics, at a cost of 1 million U.S. dollars, were launched. The six mobile clinics, which were provided by the AL, were steered to the three Darfur states, two for each state.

In this respect, Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commissioner General Abdul-Rahman Suleiman, told reporters that the mobile clinics would contribute to making access to the rural areas where there are no health services as well as serving the nomads on their different courses.

The AL, during the Arab conference for supporting the humanitarian situations in Darfur, held in Khartoum in 2007, pledged to support rehabilitation of the region, while in Doha summit in 2009, the league promised further commitments in this respect.

Source: Xinhua


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