Sudanese disarmament efforts lauded

Sept. 9, 2008 at 10:09 PM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The United Nations' top envoy to Sudan Tuesday lauded the disarmament and demobilization progress made as the war-torn country works toward peace.

"Policies are in place, planning is under way and the funding for some initial steps is available," Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative for Sudan, said in Khartoum.

Qazi, who also heads the U.N. mission in Sudan, said the country's national council and north and south commissions have taken a constructive approach to resolving the long-running conflict. Their agreement is an important component of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement ending the civil war between the government and the former southern rebels.

The 21-year war left at least 2 million people dead and displaced another 4.5 million.

"Such progress is central to peace in all of Sudan, including Darfur," Qazi said in a news release.

Still, he said, more needs to be done to make peace a reality in the region.

"Adequate and timely funding for reintegration must be secured, especially from donor countries, regardless of whatever uncertainties may lie ahead," he said.

Qazi called for a round-table meeting of the parties, the United Nations and the donor community in October with the hope of achieving further agreements on demobilization.

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