Home | News    Friday 17 September 2004

UN, AU officials and Khartoum hold talks on Darfur

NEW YORK, Sep 16, 2004(PANA) — Senior UN and African Union (AU) officials held discussions Wednesday on the humanitarian and security crises in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region, as talks in Abuja, Nigeria to resolve the conflict ran aground.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Jan Pronk, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Sudan visited the AU Ceasefire Commission headquarters in El Fasher, North Darfur where he spoke with Commission chairman Gen. Festus Okonkwo on Wednesday.

Pronk and Gen. Okonkwo discussed the latest situation on the
ground as well as how the UN and the AU can better communicate and exchange information as they try to ameliorate the suffering in Darfur.

Also in El Fasher, Pronk’s Deputy for Humanitarian Affairs
in Sudan, Manuel Aranda da Silva was scheduled to meet Thursday with leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), one of two rebel groups in Darfur fighting against Khartoum.

Eckhard said the talks were to focus on establishing security
arrangements for humanitarian workers in areas under SLM control, similar to the arrangements already set up with Khartoum.

In Abuja, Nigeria, talks between Khartoum and the two rebel
groups have been adjourned, prompting Pronk to indicate concern there will be no venue to discuss security problems.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told AU mediators that they need time to consider a request by Nigerian President and AU chairman Olusegun Obasanjo to sign a humanitarian protocol earlier agreed by all parties.