PRESS RELEASE NO. 18
7th ROUND OF THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS ON THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR
AU Special Envoy Holds Briefing Session with the Partners
The African Union Special Envoy for Darfur and Chief Mediator Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, yesterday Monday 2 January 2006, held a briefing session with the representatives of the Co-Mediators, Facilitators and the International Partners.
After updating them on the progress so far made and the difficulties being encountered, Dr. Salim emphasized the need for greater coordination and consultation between all the Partners and the AU Mediation, and for all to pool their efforts and speak with one voice. Recalling that it was such unity of purpose that made possible all the achievements so far realized in the Peace Talks, notably the signing of the Declaration of Principles (DoP) during the 5th Round, he stated that “we will carry on as long as we believe that there is a possibility to reach an agreement, and we shall do our best to achieve this goal.”
Referring to the current differences between Chad and the Sudan, Dr. Salim warned that this would evidently be detrimental to the peace process in Darfur. He expressed the firm hope that the problems between the two sisterly nations would soon be resolved.
The International Partners after presenting an account of their consultations with the Sudanese Parties, in turn, gave their assessment of the progress so far made, with ideas on the way forward. They expressed support for the efforts being deployed by the AU Mediation.
In reply to an enquiry by some of the Partners, Dr. Salim stated that the Talks would officially have a break on 8 January 2006 for the Moslem Eid celebration and resume on 14. Informal consultations would however continue during the recess.
The Coordinators of the three Commissions, respectively, earlier informed the meeting about the progress of their negotiations. The Commission on Security Arrangements was still discussing Item 1 of its five-point Agenda; and the Commission on Wealth Sharing, which has continued to make satisfactory progress, had covered about 80% of its Agenda with only two Items and a few bracketed issues outstanding.
As for the Commission on Power Sharing, given the fact that the working group set up by this Commission since 23 December 2005, could not move much on Agenda Item 4, namely: Federal System, All Levels of Governance and Their Competences, the Sudanese Parties requested the AU Mediation to revert to negotiations in Plenary.
The Plenary session of the Commission on Power Sharing did indeed take place today under the Chairmanship of its Coordinator Ambassador Berhanu Dinka in the presence of Ambassador Sam B. Ibok, Head of AU Mediation Team. After lengthy discussion, and in order to move forward the process, the Parties agreed for the time being to put aside Item 4 for further consultations, and to address Item 5 – Effective Participation in All Institutions at the Federal Level and All Other Levels of Governance; and on Item 6 – The Institutions of the State and Public Services, tomorrow Wednesday at 4pm. The Coordinator of the Commission expressed satisfaction at this new development.
Abuja, 3 January 2006
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