U.N.: Peace in Darfur a long way off

July 25, 2012 at 2:35 PM
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UNITED NATIONS, July 25 (UPI) -- There is "a long way to go" before sustainable peace comes to the people in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur, a U.N. envoy said.

Ibrahim Gambari, the head of a peacekeeping mission led jointly by the African Union and the United Nations, said the people of Darfur have suffered for too long. Significant challenges remain for sustainable peace, however.

"There remains a long way to go," he told members of the U.N. Security Council. "What progress has been made remains fragile and is easily reversible should we lose focus."

Gambari said he was working with regional leaders in an effort to persuade Sudanese leaders to return to the negotiating table.

The International Criminal Court in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges in Darfur. The United Nations estimates that at least 300,000 people have died since 2003 as a result of fighting between rebel forces and the government-backed Janjaweed militia.

The Sudanese government arrested a member of an opposition group recently for alleged ties to rebel groups in Darfur. Khartoum, meanwhile, was criticized for its crackdown on student protesters expressing frustrating with a deteriorating economic situation.

Gambari added that "many provisions" from previous peace deals for Darfur "remained unimplemented."

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