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PRESS RELEASE No. 22
7th ROUND OF THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS ON
THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR
AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator Convenes Plenary Session
The African Union Special Envoy for Darfur and Chief Mediator, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, today Tuesday 24 January 2006, convened the Plenary of the current Round of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks, attended by all the Sudanese Parties (SLM/A, JEM and the GoS) including their women delagates, Mr Abdul Waheed Al-Nur, Mr Ahmed Tugod Lissan – JEM Chief Negotiator, Abdul Jabbar Dosa - Chief SLM/A Negotiator, Minister Mohamed Yousif Abdalla – Deputy Leader of the GoS delegation, as well as the representatives of the Co-Mediators, Facilitators and International Partners.
Addressing the meeting, Dr. Salim referred to the groundswell of optimism and sense of urgency generated by the Sudanese Parties at the onset of the current Round, pointing out however that two months thereafter, the Parties had not upheld their undertakings, and that the results had not been "commensurate with the time spent". Recalling his briefing to the United Nations Security Council on 13 January 2006, the subsequent Closed Meeting with the latter, and his contacts with the UN Secretary General and senior officials of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Dr. Salim stated that the United Nations had commended the African Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) and African countries in general for a job well done by AMIS despite its limited means and capacities. He however underscored the "absolute concern and impatience" of the world body and the International Community at large over the slow pace of the current Round, adding that "time is not on our side". He urged the Sudanese Parties to take advantage of the existing window of opportunity to fast-track the process, and negotiate with greater seriousness and flexibility, and in a professional, focussed and business-like manner, without engaging in polemics, so as to reach a comprehensive agreement within weeks. Every passing day, said Dr. Salim, meant more suffering for the people of Darfur.
Reacting to Dr Salim’s statement, all the Sudanese Parties expressed their renewed commitment to the peace process, confidence in the African Union and the AU Mediation for its impartiality and resilient efforts, and appreciation for the role played by the international partners as well as by Chad, Eritrea, Libya and Nigeria. For their part, the women delegates from the Parties particularly appealed for greater attention to be paid to the plight of women and children in Darfur and for more dedicated negotiations to end the long suffering of the people of Darfur. The representative of Chad, Nigeria, the EU and the League of Arab States called for more serious negotiations and political will, while commending the new sense of urgency and determination to bring the process to a succesful conclusion as expressed by the Parties.
Concluding the session, the AU Special Envoy paid tribute to President Olusegun Obasanjo for "being always there", and requested the Nigerian government and people to continue to support the process.
In keeping with the new momentum, the Mediation announced that meetings of the Power Sharing and the Security Arrangements Commissions were scheduled to take place later in the afternoon while the Wealth Sharing Commission would meet tomorrow Wednesday at 11.00 a.m.
Abuja, 24 January 2006
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