Referendum, Darfur conflict, dominated Sudan Consultative Forum

July 17, 2010 (Khartoum) — The United Nations and African Union on Saturday expressed their support to South Sudan referendum and peaceful solution to Darfur conflict.

The Sudan Consultative Forum (SCF) calls on both government and rebel forces to resolve Darfur conflict through peaceful mean.

"The high level participation of this meeting confirms the result of the African Union and the United Nations to assist the people of Sudan to resolve their problems," said AU Peace and Security Council Commissioner, Ramadan al-Amamra.

"Our meeting will also focus its deliberations on the promotion of a global consensus on the challenges facing Sudan and the promotion of international strategy in support of Sudanese stakeholders," he added.

Addressing the forum, United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain Le Roy talked about importance of negotiations between rebel movements and the government. He urges all partied to the conflict to return to the negotiating table.

Roy also talked about the urgent need to resolve pending issues in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), saying the most pressing issues on upcoming referendum are border demarcation and formation of the Abyei commission for Abyei referendum.

“Abyei remains a cause of serious concern, not only for the people of Abyei, but for the CPA as a whole. There is little progress in the establishment of the commission of Abyei," Roy said.

“So we urge the parties at all levels to resolve the issue of residency, border demarcation, and access to resources and freedom of movement in order to move forward towards a peaceful and credible referendum process," he added.

The Forum welcomed the formation of South Sudan referendum commission and memorandum of understanding which was signed on June 23 between the two main CPA partners (SPLM and NCP) in Mekelle, Ethiopia.

The Under-Secretary also condemned the repeated attacks against UN peacekeepers and abduction of humanitarian workers in Darfur and call on the government to punish those who are involved in the violence acts.

"We are deeply troubled about the continued attacks against UN personnel in Darfur. All forms of violence against the UN and humanitarian personnel and ambush, abduction and acts of banditry must cease immediately. We call on the Sudanese authorities to do all they can to ensure safety and security of the UNAMID peacekeepers. We also ask the government to bring the perpetrators to justice," Roy said.

Chinese special envoy to Darfur Liu Guijin reaffirmed China support to Sudan peace and thanks African Union for organizing the forum.

“Things were going in the right track", Mr. Guijin, was quoted by Sudan State run news agency as saying.

Sudan Consultative Forum (SCF) was organized by the African Union (AU), with help from United Nations (UN) and key members of the international community. It was designed to address Sudan’s most challenging issues like South Sudan referendum, Abyei commission, Darfur conflict, humanitarian operation in Darfur, among others.

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