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Sudan welcomes appointment of new Darfur mediator

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June 30, 2008 (CAIRO) — Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir welcomed the designation of Djibril Yipènè Bassolé, the Burkina Faso Foreign Minister as the new United Nations and African Union joint Chief mediators for Darfur peace negotiations.

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Djibril Yipènè Bassolé with Ban Ki-Moon in October 2007 (photo UN)

The U.N. and the A.U. chiefs appointed officially today Bassolé as joint mediator for Darfur. The newly designated mediator will be based in El Fasher. He will conduct his new mission on a full-time basis.

President al-Bashir pledged to provide all necessary support to facilitate his mission in the framework of finding a settlement to the crisis of Darfur as well as to facilitate his movements and contacts in Sudan.

The President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso said following a meeting with President al-Bashir on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Sharm El-Sheikh that he met the Sudanese president to tackle the issue of Darfur, the Sudanese Chadian relations and to present the newly appointed joint mediator.

While the presidential adviser Mustafa Osman Ismail announced that Bassolé will visit Sudan during the coming days and meet with officials and visit Darfur.

Djibril Bassolé, 51, has a good experience in the field of conflict resolutions and peace mediations. He had played a key role to facilitate Ouagadougou Agreement of 2007 signed between President Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire and Forces Nouvelles leader (now Prime Minister) Guillaume Soro.

He also worked as a Member of the Mediation Committee for the ‘Touareg’ conflict in Niger (1994 - 1995) and was a Member of the International Committee for the monitoring of the elections in Togo (1993 - 1994).

The UN and AU Special Envoys for Darfur, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, will remain as advisers to the new mediators. However, the Sudanese government and the rebel groups blamed their lack of adroitness in handling the mediation.

Different analysts designated them as one of reasons of the failure of Darfur peace mediation. Main rebel groups blamed them for seeking to include unrepresentative groups in the talks and accused them of promoting divisions. While Khartoum said they failed to reunite the rebel movements and bring them to the table of talks.

(ST)

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