31/03/2004
Press Release
SG/SM/9238
AFR/877



SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS DEVASTATING CONFLICT IN DARFUR, SUDAN, MUST STOP;


CALLS FOR EFFECTIVE HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE


Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan, distributed at the ceasefire talks on Darfur, Sudan, in N'Djamena, Chad, on 31 March:


I am very disturbed by events in Darfur where the continuing conflict is having a devastating impact on the lives and well-being of the people.  Civilian casualties and serious human rights violations are routinely reported.  This is unacceptable and must stop.


I welcome the efforts of President Idriss Derby, the Government of the Sudan, parties to the conflict and the international community to achieve a cessation of hostilities and, ultimately, a long-term solution to the causes of the conflict.  First, the fighting must stop, and to this end I strongly encourage all parties to work intensively towards declaring an effective humanitarian ceasefire.  Humanitarian organizations and staff must also receive safe and unimpeded access to all those in need.


The United Nations remains ready to assist in the search for solutions in any manner the parties consider useful.


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