PRESS RELEASE No. 33
7TH ROUND OF THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS ON THE
CONFLICT IN DARFUR
AU Mediation Meets with the Personal Envoy of the President of Slovenia
The Personal Envoy and Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Republic of Slovenia Ambassador Ivo Vajgl, was yesterday, Sunday 26 February 2006, received in audience by the AU Mediation Team led by Ambassador Sam Ibok.
Ambassador Vajgl briefed the AU Mediation on the different actions undertaken by the President of Slovenia Mr Janez Drnovڑek and his Government to mobilize national and international humanitarian assistance and solidarity for Darfur, adding that Slovenia was also looking forward, through this initiative, to contributing to the political process.
During the exchange of views which took place subsequently, the Head of the AU Mediation Team, while pointing out that the African Union had so far not received any official information regarding the contents of the Slovenian initiative, emphasized that any political initiative outside the ongoing Abuja Process would, at this point in time, only serve the purpose of distracting the Parties and diverting their attention away from the critical issues that are the subject of substantive negotiations in this final phase of the Peace Talks, when the AU is striving to build bridges and forge consensus between the Parties. Ambassador Ibok further stressed that the Abuja Talks represent a genuine international partnership with the full and unhindered involvement of international partners, including the UN, EU, the League of Arab States, the US, UK, Canada and others.
Ambassador Ibok expressed regret that the Slovenian initiative was launched without any consultations whatsoever with the AU Mediation, which is why it was hardly surprising that there is nothing complementary between the approach of the AU for a Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Slovenian President’s initiative.
Ambassador Ibok appealed to the Government of Slovenia and other international partners to refrain from encouraging the Parties in Abuja to engage in “Forum Shopping”, and stressed the need to avoid sending mixed and often confusing signals to the Sudanese Parties negotiating in Abuja.
The meeting did not discuss the contents of the initiative and the proposed Peace Agreement by the Slovenian President. On the contrary, the Mediation welcomed any initiative to enhance the flow of humanitarian assistance to those in need in Darfur, as indicated by the Envoy.
The Slovenian Envoy recognized the leading role of the African Union in the Darfur Peace Talks and took note of the progress so far achieved.
Abuja, 27 February 2006
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