The head of the United Nations department of peacekeeping told the Security Council today that initial steps by the Sudanese Government and one of the rebel movements in Darfur to implement the peace document signed in Qatar last year have been promising, and urged the international community to support their efforts.
The Sudanese Government and the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed the so-called the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in July last year in the Qatari capital, Doha, that forms the basis for a permanent ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting that began more than eight years ago.
HervÃ© Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Council in a briefing that the Government and armed groups that did not sign the Doha Document needed to return to the negotiating table.
The parties should be supported in this regard by the Council and by the international community more broadly, particularly with the implementation of the provisions that bring about tangible improvements to the lives.
The parties should be supported in this regard by the Council and by the international community more broadly, particularly with the implementation of the provisions that bring about tangible improvements to the lives " of the people of Darfur, Mr. Ladsous said.
In addition, there remains a need to bring the Government and non-signatory movements to the negotiating table. Their long-standing grievances can only be effectively dealt with through peace talks that result in agreement to cease hostilities and work k together towards peace, " he added.
The UN will continue to work with the African Union (AU) for to find a lasting settlement solution to the Darfur crisis, he said.
Mr. Ladsous also told the Council that increased military activity in Darfur and clashes between Government forces and rebel fighters in recent weeks have led to increased movement restrictions for the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), impeding its ability to implement its mandate.
As noted in the Secretary-General`s latest report on UNAMID, Mr. Ladsous pointed out that while a number of areas in Darfur remain relatively free of military hostilities, clashes between Government troops and rebel forces in areas along the North Darfur-North Kordofan state border and South Darfur-South Kordofan border, as well as the in the West Jabel Marra area took place during the second half of last month.
On the humanitarian situation in Darfur, the Mr. Ladsous said there has been a trend of internally displaced persons and refugees voluntarily returning to their home areas at a rate of approximately 1,500 people per month, a development he described as encouraging. "
The total number of verified returns between the beginning of January last year and the end of October was 85,172 people, compared to the 70,000 people who were newly displaced, he said.
While most parts of Darfur were accessible to humanitarian organizations, with UNAMID security escort needed outside the main town centres, access to West Jebel Marra was repeatedly denied and intermittently restricted to the greater Jebel Marra, Shangil Tobaya and Um Barru areas, as welss as to Zam Zam camp, " he said.