CANADA HANDS OVER APC KEYS TO AMIS
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union and Head of the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, received at Force Headquarters in El Fasher Friday 18 November, 2005, the keys of the first six Canadian – donated Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) from Ambassador Robert Fowler, Head of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Team on Sudan at a ceremony attended by the High Command of the AU Force Headquarters and Senior Canadian officials.
Senator Dallaire, a member of the Advisory Team in a brief remark said that Canada will continue its support to the African Mission in Sudan, adding that the APCs will be an effective instrument of peace.
For his part, Ambassador Kingibe said that the 105 Grizzly, general purpose armoured vehicles will assist in moving AU troops quickly and safely, enhance greatly the security of AMIS personnel on patrols, humanitarian convoys, and vulnerable civilians, especially those in the IDP Camps. He added that they are suited for the African Union Mission and the specific terrain of Darfur. Ambassador Kingibe extended his profound appreciation to the people and Government of Canada for their generosity and compassion to AMIS and paid tribute to Prime Minister Paul Martin who is clearly continuing the tradition of the late Lester Pearson who was, as he put it, the most known exponent of the Canadian values of peace, stability and the preservation of human dignity.
Ambassador Kingibe also met on Saturday, 19 November, 2005 with a United States Government delegation led by the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Jendayi Frazer with whom he exchanged views and ideas regarding on-going efforts to stabilize the security situation in Darfur as well as preparations for the upcoming 7th Round of the Abuja Peace Talks.
In this regard, a closed door reconciliation meeting was organized at Force Headquarters on Saturday, 19 November, 2005, attended for the first time by the two factional leaders of the SLM/A, Mr. Abdulwaheed Nur and Mr. Mini Minawi Arkoy. The meeting was facilitated by Ambassador Jendayi Frazer and attended by Ambassador Kingibe, Mr. Roger Winter, the US Special Envoy for Darfur, and other top US and AU officials. The two SLM leaders had very useful exchange of views and both pronounced themselves on the ideas on the next steps forward proposed by the American delegation with the strong support of the African Union. Further efforts will be made to bridge the gap between the two leaders to enable effective participation of the SLM/A in the upcoming Abuja talks for which delegates are expected to arrive on 21st November, 2005.
The previous day, Friday, 18th November, the Special Representative had met SLM/A’s factional leader Mini Minawi Arkoy in Muhajeria AU Group Site in South Darfur. The two exchanged fraternal greetings and Amb. Kingibe commended the Movement’s invaluable contribution to the on-going peace efforts. He stressed that there could be no meaningful negotiations on the future of Darfur without the effective participation of the Movement and its leadership. The Ambassador also praised the efforts to unify the SLM/A ranks and address its internal differences. In this regard, he urged Mr. Mini Minawi to cooperate with the international community in their efforts to assist the SLM/A leadership overcome their differences. Mr. Minawi was strongly advised especially to attend the leadership meeting convened by the Tchadian authorities and the one proposed by the US for the following day.
On his part, Mr. Minawi expressed his appreciation for the tireless efforts of the AU in endeavoring to seek durable and equitable peace in Darfur. He reiterated his personal commitment to the peace process, adding that he will attend and participate in the scheduled 7th Round of the Abuja Peace Talks. He expressed readiness to attend the American brokered reconciliation meeting the following day. He equally welcomed the Tchadian initiative but regretted that the proposed date was too close to the Abuja Talks to be feasible. He, however, undertook to revisit the invitation at a future date.
Khartoum, 20 November 2005