July 6, 2007 (UNITED NATIONS) — The United Nations envoy tasked with the re-energizing the peace process in Darfur is holding talks in Khartoum today with senior officials in the hybrid African Union-UN peacekeeping force that is planned for deployment to the violence-wracked region of Sudan.
Jan Eliasson, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Darfur, met Rodolphe Adada, the new AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, who is serving as head of the existing AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and will then head up the hybrid force once it starts operation.
Eliasson also met AMIS Force Commander Gen. Martin Agwai, who will become the Force Commander of the hybrid operation as well, spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
The planned hybrid force will take over from the under-resourced AMIS, and is likely to need almost 20,000 troops, more than 6,000 police and nearly 5,000 civilians at full deployment.
Eliasson is also scheduled to hold talks today with ambassadors of the countries and organizations that are participating in the international meeting later this month in Tripoli, Libya, on the Darfur peace process.
The Tripoli gathering, on 15-16 July, has been convened to assess the progress over the past months towards holding peace talks in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2 million others displaced from their homes amid brutal fighting since 2003.
The meeting will focus on the roadmap, the joint plan of the UN and the AU – whose Darfur envoy, Salim Ahmed Salim, is expected to arrive in Khartoum this weekend – to solve the conflict between the Government, allied Janjaweed militias and Darfur’s many rebel groups. Negotiations between the warring parties mark the roadmap’s third phase.
Ms. Okabe said Eliasson is also meeting representatives of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the Senior Assistant to the Sudanese President, Minni Minawi, who is also head of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M).
Tomorrow Eliasson is expected to hold talks with senior Sudanese Government figures, including Foreign Minister Lam Akol, as well as with civil society groups, tribal leaders and Salim.