WASHINGTON, Nov 13, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The following was released today by the Embassy of Sudan:
President al-Bashir announced on Wednesday morning an "immediate and unconditional ceasefire between the national forces and armed factions" and called for the swift disarmament of rogue elements operating in Darfur in an effort to curtail the proliferating use of arms and as a gesture and a step towards stemming the crisis in Darfur. A declaration welcomed by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon as genuine progress, and one lauded by the chief mediator, Djibril Basole, President Bashir urged that a mechanism to monitor it be put in place so as to ensure its observance by all the parties.
This declaration is a product of and a recommendation from a month long forum convened in October and attended by over 30 active political parties and a constituency of some 245 people, of which various Darfuri rebel groups were represented. Billed, the "Sudan People's Initiative," the forum sought to create a platform for the people to voice grievances and to entertain possible ideas on how to go about addressing the principal factors underpinning the crisis. Six different committees were formed, each of which, towards the end, advanced to the forum recommendations on ways to tackle various dimensions of the problem.
On security, it was resolved that, in addition to waging a peaceful campaign for disarmament and effecting a ceasefire, a conference for the neighboring countries be planned for in order to discuss ways that ensure regional peace; normalization of relations with Chad was also conceived as essential to security in Darfur and a few days ago the two countries exchanged Ambassadors in accordance with that resolution. The impending Qatari initiative holds high hopes for many as it represents an opportunity for all stakeholders to finally hammer out a sustainable solution to the crisis.
With regards to reconciliation and social peace, it was deemed imperative that conditions of the internally displaced improve drastically and that law and order prevail. The need to repatriate refugees currently in Chad was also a priority and was seen as contingent on the establishment of dialogue between the movements and IDPs in order to ease their return and reintegration. Also critical to reconciliation is the issue of a just retribution. Ways and means for compensation of the affected families were also a major point of deliberation. Major disagreements emerged when propositions were made to unify the 3 states of Darfur or further balkanize the region to 5 states. A heated debate was also sparked when the demand for the post of the Vice Presidency was made by the rebels.
The forum inspired among the participants a great sense of nationalism as they, in unison, vehemently rejected the negative interference of foreign and extraneous forces. It also managed to highlight the most salient and important points of agreement and disagreement between all parties. This was precisely the intention of the "People's Initiative." At its conclusion, it afforded all the participants a clear grasp of the challenges facing the country and was able to present possible ways to address them. Indeed there were those rebels who refused to take part in the momentous forum, those who've in the past compulsively shot down all positive motions towards resolving the conflict. The Sudanese appeal to the international community to use its tremendous leverage so as to ensure that the Rebels observe the ceasefire.
CONTACT: Embassy of Sudan Information Office, +1-202-338-8565, +1-202-667-2406
SOURCE Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan