18 November 2009 The top United Nations-African Union official for Darfur has highlighted the role of civil society groups in the search for a solution to the strife that has plagued the Sudanese region, encouraging their full participation in the peace talks that resumed in Doha today.
“The growing consensus that would emerge in the civil society consultations here in Doha will certainly have a positive impact on the next round of talks between the Government and the armed movements, and I am hopeful that this will reinvigorate the entire peace process,” said Henry Anyidoho, the acting Joint AU-UN Special Representative for Darfur.
Addressing the launch of the talks, organized under the auspices of AU-UN Joint Mediator Djibril Bassolé and facilitated by the Government of Qatar, Mr. Anyidoho congratulated the civil society representatives from Darfur and Khartoum gathered in Doha for their “resilience and determination” to see peace in their country.
“You have been persistently asking for this opportunity and you now have it. Please make full use of it and do not let it slip away,” he told the group, which included members of women’s and youth organizations.
An estimated 300,000 people have been killed in the region over the past six years and another 2.7 million people forced to leave their homes as a result of fighting that has raged across Darfur since 2003, pitting the rebel movements against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
The joint AU-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, known as UNAMID, has been deployed there since January 2008 to try to quell the fighting and protect civilians.
Mr. Anyidoho, who heads UNAMID, stated that the discussions underway in Doha will give increased momentum to the ongoing reconciliation processes between communities and tribes in Darfur, and advance the cause of peace.
“Only when all stakeholders, including the international community, speak with one voice on how best to resolve the conflict in Darfur, will the improvements that we can already see on the ground in Darfur become sustainable and encompassing.
“Let us redouble our efforts towards this one objective: peace and stability in Darfur.”
News Tracker: past stories on this issue