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Vice-president calls for unity and solidarity in Darfur

5/7/2005 5:48am

NAIROBI, 6 May 2005 (IRIN) - The Sudanese first vice-president, Ali Uthman Taha, on Thursday urged a reconciliation conference for tribes of the Kurma region in the western Sudanese state of North Darfur to promote unity and dialogue.

Addressing the conference, the vice-president affirmed the government's determination to embrace dialogue and negotiations as a way to solve the country's conflicts, the official Sudanese news agency, SUNA, reported on Thursday.

Taha said the convening of the reconciliation conference in Kabkabiya "represents a clear response to [the UN] Security Council's resolutions on Sudan" and called "on the citizens of Kabkabiya locality to stick to unity and solidarity and not [to] allow the chance for those who want to undermine the security of the homeland".

On 29 March, the Council adopted a resolution which strengthened the arms embargo and imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on those who were deemed responsible for the atrocities in Darfur or were violating the ceasefire agreement.

This decision was followed by another resolution - issued on 31 March - that called for the trial of those implicated in the region’s crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Sudanese National Assembly on 4 May approved a resolution condemning the two Council resolutions for ignoring international law and the role of regional organisations, and adopting double standards.

According to a UN report, the assembly said the Sudanese judiciary was capable of trying those accused of war crimes and called on the government to deal with the resolutions on legal grounds, while urging political forces to join ranks to tackle the "great challenges that faced Sudan".

President Umar El-Bashir, in a speech on 3 May, blamed the "negative signals and unfair pressures from the Security Council" for the slow progress with the Darfur talks, alleging that several measures had been successfully implemented to "contain the Darfur crisis".

Taha reaffirmed the government's determination to continue the efforts for realisation of the comprehensive peace in the country, as well as its serious endeavours for completion of the negotiations with the main Darfur rebel groups in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to maintain security and stability in the country.

The reconciliation conference was attended by the governor of North Darfur, Uthman Muhammad Yusuf Kibir, a number of local authorities, ministers and western diplomats and resulted in the signing of a peaceful settlement of a tribal conflict.

The agreement came after 2 weeks of talks between local Arab and non-Arab tribes that aimed at establishing boundaries between farms and grazing paths for nomadic cattle herders in northeastern Darfur.

A senior Sudanese military official, who asked not to be named, told IRIN on Friday that a proposal from the southern Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), calling for the deployment of 10,000 soldiers from the SPLM/A, the Sudanese army and the African Union in Darfur under a tripartite command structure, was "good, but not needed" as "the situation in Darfur has stabilised".

The SPLM/A had proposed its plan for a combined force during the Oslo international donor conference in Norway on 11-12 April, in order to "stabilise Darfur and enhance prospects for a fair and just political settlement as well as forestall foreign intervention".

The war in Darfur pits Sudanese government troops and militias - allegedly allied to the government - against rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. Over 2.4 million people continue to be affected by the conflict, 1.85 million of which are internally displaced or have been forced to flee to neighbouring Chad.


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