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PRESS RELEASE No. 52
7TH ROUND OF THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS OF THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR
African Union Mediation Extends the Talks Deadline by Forty-Eight Hours
On the expiry of the 30 April deadline set for the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks, the AU Mediation in a late night Plenary Session, Sunday, chaired by the African Union Special Envoy and Chief Mediator Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, announced forty-eight hours extension to enable the Sudanese Parties to resolve some pending issues adding that “we have to stop the clock for the next 48 hours to allow the Parties to hold more Talks.”
This announcement came following a request for an extension of the deadline made by the International Partners at a meeting they held earlier with the AU Special Envoy, to allow the Sudanese Parties to have more consultations. This request was subsequently reiterated by Ambassador Cameron Hume, US representative at the Talks.
Addressing the Session, Dr. Salim called upon the Parties to exhibit the necessary statesmanship and make the hard choice for peace. The Peace Agreement, he said, had factored in the concerns, demands and aspirations of the people of Darfur, presenting them with attainable compromises.
“Making peace is not for the fainthearted, the parochial and the narrow-minded. Making peace is the ultimate expression and test of commitment of organizations and governments to the wellbeing of their people. That is why making peace in never simple. We are not asking you, the Government of the Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement to make a simple decision. There is no half-heartedness in peace and no short cut”, said Dr. Salim, who added that the Agreement had been crafted in close consultation with the International Community.
The Agreement, he further said, has the full support of the African Union and its member states, the UN, the EU, the League of Arab States, the US and Canada, because though not perfect, it is fair, just and workable. “It paves the way for restoration of normalcy in Darfur, laying the foundations for democracy and development” explained Dr. Salim.
In conclusion, the AU Special Envoy emphasized that the “eyes of Africa and the wider international community are fixed on us here.” The consequence of not signing the Agreement, he further said, will be negative and disastrous for the people of the Sudan, for the peace process and for the Parties.
In his message to the Session, read out by the Head of the AU Mediation Team, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Prof. Alpha Oumar Konaré welcomed the decision of the Sudanese Government to adopt and sign the Darfur Peace Agreement despite its strong reservation on certain aspects of the Document. He then urged the Movements to do the same, pointing out that the Agreement has addressed their grievances and aspirations, and represents “a fair, workable and comprehensive solution to the crisis in Darfur.” “We undertake that the African Union, working in tandem with the United Nations and the wider international community, will provide all necessary support and guarantees for the full and scrupulous implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement once it is signed”, assured Professor Konaré, who called upon the leaders of the Parties to remain in Abuja to take advantage of the “coming hours and days” to resolve all outstanding differences.” Meanwhile, he too would be coming to Abuja in the company of the AU Current Chairman President Denis Sassou Nguesso to consult with President Obasanjo and the Chief Mediator, adding that the AU Peace and Security Council would be meeting soon to consider further necessary measures to realize the AU and the international community objectives in Darfur.
Abuja, 1 May 2006
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