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UN Mission Chief Heads for Nigeria Where Sudanese Peace Talks Have Become Difficult

12/7/2005 8:29pm

UN News Service (New York)
December 6, 2005
Posted to the web December 6, 2005

The senior United Nations envoy to Sudan will head to Abuja on Sunday to help with difficult peace talks in the Nigerian capital between the Sudanese Government and the two main rebel groups in western Sudan's Darfur region amid continued insecurity there, the United Nations Mission in the country (UNMIS) announced today.

Jan Pronk's trip will aim to boost "the ongoing negotiations process, which does not seem to progress as expeditiously as hoped, in order to reach an agreement by the end of this year," UNMIS said.

In advance of that trip, Mr. Pronk will make one of his regular visits to UN deployment areas with a three-day tour of Rumbek and Wau in southern Sudan, where peace agreements restored stability at the beginning of this year.

The security situation in Darfur over the past week has been characterized by banditry, including looting and inter-tribal fighting, alleged clashes between the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and tribal groups, as well as harassment, threats and sometimes beating of the staffs of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), according to the mission.

Meanwhile, the situation in West Darfur is cause for concern, UNMIS said, with the leader of a third rebel group, the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD), claiming responsibility for an attack late last month on a police outpost which injured seven policemen.

Around the same time, either Chadian deserters or the NMRD are suspected of having attacked an African Mission in Sudan (AMIS) patrol, wounding five African peacekeepers, UNMIS said. Attacks by unidentified armed men on internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees were reported near the border with Chad and at Tonkitier IDP camp.

The NMRD has not been included with the SLM and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the Abuja peace talks.

In southern Sudan, the rebel Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has murdered, raped, robbed and abducted civilians, including humanitarian workers, "adding to fears that the Ugandan rebel group has made the targeting of aid workers part of its strategy," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) added.

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