UN Security Council voices "deep concern" over rising violence, insecurity in Darfur

10:11, April 22, 2011      

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The UN Security Council on Thursday voiced its "deep concern over the serious increase in violence and insecurity in Darfur," and reaffirmed its support for the peace process for Darfur, Sudan, which is led by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

The 15-nation Security Council made the remarks in a presidential statement, read to all the Council members at an open meeting by Nestor Osorio, the Colombian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Council presidency for April.

"The Security Council reiterates its deep concern over the serious increase in violence and insecurity in Darfur, including ceasefire violations, restrictions on access to vulnerable populations throughout Darfur by UNAMID (the UN-AU Mission in Darfur) and the humanitarian community, attacks by rebel groups, aerial bombardment by the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the ongoing displacement of civilians," the statement said.

Following a relative lull in the fighting in Darfur, renewed clashes between rebels and the army since December 2010 have sent more than 70,000 new arrivals to camps, which were set up for those fleeing their homes, said the UN reports.

About 1.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes in Darfur since clashes broke out between the Sudanese government and rebels in 2003 in Darfur, according to the United Nations reports.

"The Council expresses its deep condolences to the family of the peacekeeper killed on April 5 and urges the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the government of Sudan to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the incident," the presidential statement said.

On April 5, a UNAMID peacekeeper was killed and two others injured after a group of armed men attacked a mission patrol in North Darfur.

UNAMID peacekeepers were subject to many attacks by unknown gunmen in Darfur, where 22 of the mission's peacekeepers have been killed since the deployment of UNAMID in the Sudanese region in early 2008.

The Security Council reaffirmed its support for UNAMID to " deliver its core tasks to protect civilians and assure humanitarian access" under relevant UN resolutions, the presidential statement said.

At the same time, "the Security Council reaffirms its support for the AU-UN led peace process for Darfur, hosted by the State of Qatar, and the work of Join Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole," the statement said.

Qatar is the mediator in the talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups in Darfur.

"The Council strongly urges all other rebel movements to join the peace process without further delay or preconditions," said the statement.

"The Council urges the parties in Doha to make the necessary concessions to quickly reach a ceasefire and political agreement and looks forward to the outcome of the upcoming All-Darfur Stakeholders' Conference in Doha," the statement said. "The Council believes this conference should be fully representative of all of Darfur's populations and interest groups."

Peace mediators are preparing to submit a draft peace agreement to the government of Sudan, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) for their final consideration next week, Atul Khare, UN assistant secretary- general for peacekeeping operations, told the Security Council here Wednesday.

The three parties have been involved in peace negotiations in Doha since January, but have struggled to achieve a lasting agreement on issues involving wealth sharing, power sharing, refugees and internally displaced persons, justice and reconciliation, human rights, and security arrangements for the region.

The Sudanese government recently issued a presidential decree for the conduct of a referendum on Darfur's administrative status that temporarily prompted the JEM to halt direct negotiations with Khartoum.

Source: Xinhua
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