26 May 2004 United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the endorsement of agreements aimed at ending two decades of war between the Sudanese Government and rebels in the south, while urging progress in resolving the crisis in Darfur, located in the western part of Africa's largest country.
Meeting in Naivasha, Kenya, the Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) initialled three protocols on political and power sharing issues. A spokesman for the Secretary-General issued a statement calling this development "a major step forward" in the peace process.
"In welcoming the achievement of the IGAD Peace Process which paves the way for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in southern Sudan, the Secretary-General at the same time calls on the Government of the Sudan and the armed opposition in Darfur to seize the momentum created in Naivasha to reach a political solution in western Sudan, putting an end to the grave humanitarian and human rights situations there," spokesman Fred Eckhard added.
During the talks, which are being facilitated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Mr. Annan has encouraged both Sudanese President Hassan Al-Bashir and SPLM/A Chairman John Garang to seek a speedy conclusion. He also designated his Special Adviser, Ambassador Mohamed Sahnoun, to provide support to the mediation.
The Secretary-General commended Sudan's First Vice-President, Ali Osman Taha, and Mr. Garang. "He urges the two parties to sustain their commitment and persevere in reaching agreement on the remaining issues, especially the ceasefire arrangements, the implementations modalities and international guarantees for a future comprehensive peace agreement," the spokesman said, stressing the UN's "interest and readiness" to support this process.
"The United Nations stands ready to contribute to the efforts of the international community to help implement a peace agreement concluded by the Sudanese parties," the statement said.