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TEXT- Conclusions of UN-AU meeting on Darfur crisis

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Nov 17, 2006 (ADDIS ABABA) — Below the text of the conclusion of AU-UN high level consultation on the situation in Darfur. The text treats three points (1) to fix the rules of the expected Darfur peace talks (2) to strengthen the ceasefire (3) to deploy a peacekeeping force in Darfur.

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HIGH LEVEL CONSULTATION ON THE SITUATION IN DARFUR CONCLUSIONS

16 November 2006

Today the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission co-chaired a meeting of the five permanent members of the Security Council and a number of African countries, including Sudan.

Out of deep concern for the current situation in Darfur, which include ongoing violence and loss of life, this group convened to identify concrete steps to be taken to improve the current situation. The group considered three areas: the requirement to re-energize the peace process, establishing a strengthened cease fire and the way forward for peacekeeping in Darfur. The group concluded the following:

I. A RE-ENERGIZED POLITICAL PROCESS

A. General Principles underlying a re-energized political process

The Darfur conflict can only be resolved through a political process

The DPA is the only basis for this process, and should not be re-negotiated.

No Party outside the DPA should be allowed to undermine its implementation.

This political process should be all-inclusive.

The mediation should be credible and under AU and UN leadership.

The process should be transparent and should include wider international involvement.

DDDC is an important complimentary process that will contribute to the search for sustainable peace in Darfur.

The AU remains the lead actor in the process of implementing the DPA.

B. Concerns regarding the DPA and its implementation

The DPA is not sufficiently inclusive. A number of parties remain outside its framework. This has led to insecurity, worsened the humanitarian situation and limited humanitarian access.

For various reasons, the DPA has not been sufficiently popularized in Darfur, and that has led to opposition to the Agreement amongst Darfurians.

The proliferation of initiatives aimed at the non-signatories must be streamlined and brought under a unified umbrella to guard against forum-shopping.

Fragmentation of the non-signatories has led to fighting between them, and undermine to maintain the cease-fire.

Regional dimension of the conflict has sometimes complicated the search for a solution.

The slow pace of implementation of the DPA remains a serious concern.

C. Proposals to address the concerns

The various initiatives must be brought under one umbrella and the AU and UN are best-placed to lead a credible process.

International partners to the DPA are called upon and shall be available to assist in the political process.

The Parties, including the non-signatories in particular, must engage in the process with the necessary commitment and a willingness to compromise. The international community must do all it can to ensure this.

The next step is for the UN and AU to call a meeting for the non-signatories, SLA/MM, and the GoS. It should take place in the next couple of weeks so as to resolve outstanding issues by the end of the year.

II A STRENGTHENED CEASEFIRE

It is clear that there can be no effective ceasefire mechanism or peacekeeping operation without there being a peace to keep that is firmly grounded upon an all-inclusive political process.

The Ceasefire Working Group welcomes the Government of Sudan’s renewed commitment to a political process. It calls upon all parties – Government and DPA non-signatories- to immediately commit to a cessation of hostilities in Darfur in order to give these renewed discussions the best chances for success.

While we certainly hope that this political process will be swiftly concluded, the Darfurian people cannot afford to wait one more day for violence to end. It is imperative that the African Union have a forum through which it can hold all parties accountable for ceasefire violations in Darfur. The ceasefire working group welcomes the mandate given by the latest Joint Commission meeting to the AU Force Commander to create direct links to non-signatories. With the public declaration to cease all hostilities from all parties, we believe the AU will be able to go one step further and facilitate direct talks between the GoS and the non-signatories to ensure that there is no impunity for violence in Darfur.

The ceasefire working group stresses that all parties must cooperate with AMIS, participate constructively in investigations, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief in Darfur.

In view of the regional dimension of the conflict, it is important to reinvigorate regional instruments such as the Tripoli mechanism. All countries must work for a peaceful solution in Darfur and refrain from actions which run counter to that objective.

The international community stresses that opposition to the DPA does not give non-signatories the right to continue fighting. We call on them to seize this opportunity to rejoin the political process. They should not miss this opportunity for peace.

We stress that the international community stands ready to take measures against any of the parties who remain outside the political process and breach their ceasefire obligations. At the same time, the international community reminds the GoS of its obligations to protect civilians, to facilitate the work of the African Union, as well that of the humanitarian community.

III. THE WAY FORWARD IN PEACEKEEPING

During the Plenary, Chairman Konaré stressed the current difficulties with the management of AMIS; all participants agreed on the need to enhance AMIS’ capacity urgently.

A. United Nations support to AMIS

The aim of the support package is to assist AMIS in the implementation of the DPA.

The Light Support Package (phase 1) is currently being implemented in full cooperation with the Government of Sudan. It is also agreed that the Heavy Support Package (Phase 2) will be taken forward and that the existing tri-partite (UN-AU-Government of Sudan) mechanism established would facilitate implementation of the Heavy Package for phase 2. A hybrid operation (Phase 3) is also agreed in principle, pending clarification of the size of the force (see paragraph 33). The Sudanese delegation further requested hat they be given time to consult on the appointment of the SRSG and Force Commander. The consultations would be undertaken to inform the PSC meeting of 24 November.

B. The Mission of the peacekeeping force

It should be capable of contributing to the restoration of security and protection of civilians in Darfur through the implementation of security aspects of the DPA. It should also ensure full humanitarian access.

C. Requirements of the peacekeeping force

It must be logistically and financially sustainable. This support must come from the UN. The Secretary-General should recommend to the appropriate bodies that the United Nations provide funding for the peacekeeping operation in Darfur, pending clarification of force size

The peacekeeping force will have a predominantly African character. The troops should, as far as possible, be sourced from African countries. Backstopping and command and control structures will be provided by the UN.

The strength of the peacekeeping force should be 17,000 and 3,000 police. However, the GoS representative indicated that he would need to consult with his government on this figure.

The peacekeeping force must enjoy free and unhindered movement in Darfur.
D. Chad and the Central African Republic

The need to take into account the security situation along the Chad-Sudan and Central African Republic borders was agreed.

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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