October 17, 2008 (TOKYO) — A U.S. official reiterated today its support for the African Union-U.N. chief mediator for peace in Darfur saying it is better to focus efforts to settle the conflict on the process he leads.
Yesterday Khartoum has started a large Sudanese-Sudanese consultation to end the five years conflict. They opening session was also attended by foreign dignitaries.
Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, said “This could complement the effort of Bassole or it could be a distraction. It depends on what substantatively actually happens,” she said during a visit t to Tokyo.
“But the core approach to a peace agreement is one that the government of Sudan and the rebel groups have all agreed to, which is an AU-UN mediator,” she underscored.
Washington fears the multiplications of initiatives for peace in Darfur could lead to scatter it in different directions. It also suspects the credibility of the Sudanese government and its seriousness.
“If it is a true process, if this is the beginning of a true change, a substantive change in the way Darfur has been handled, then it would be supported by people,” the U.S. charge d’affaires in Sudan, Alberto Fernandez said yesterday after the following session of Sudan’s People Forum.
“But there is a problem. The government lacks credibility because of the last five years. So there is doubt in the minds of many,” he added.
But Darfur rebel groups shunned the meeting, accusing Al-Bashir of seeking to lure the international community after his indictment by the ICC prosecutor last July for genocide and other crimes in Darfur.
The U.N. and the A.U. chiefs appointed Djibril Bassolé as joint mediator for Darfur, on June 30. The joint mediator is based in El Fasher where he conducts his new mission on a full-time basis.