Friday, July 07, 2006

Darfur violence worse since peace deal: UN envoy

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - The top U.N. envoy in Sudan on Thursday said violence in Darfur had escalated after a May peace deal and violations of the accord had been ignored.

U.N. special envoy Jan Pronk also renewed his call for additions to the May 5 agreement, such as international security guarantees and greater compensation for war victims, despite recent objections from the Sudanese Foreign Ministry.

"You can compare this situation ... I would say to March, February, before we had the peace agreement," Pronk told a news conference, referring to violence in Darfur in Sudan's west. "It's not dying out, it's increasing at the moment," he added.

Since the African Union-mediated peace deal, which only one of three negotiating rebel factions signed, tens of thousands of people have staged demonstrations, at times violently, saying it does not meet their basic demands.

Fighting has continued despite the deal, and key deadlines, including receiving Khartoum's crucial plan to disarm pro-government militias by June 22, have been missed with no repercussions.

Pronk said more needed to be done to address peace deal violations, and defended the peace agreement, which he had signed as a witness and helped broker by urging rebels to agree to the text.

"A peace agreement which is not getting the support of the majority ... is not sustainable. But then the technical question is, should you wait until everybody is in agreement? Or can you see the agreement as a step toward further agreements?" he said.

"The first priority is implementation, implementation, implementation ... It's non-implementation of the text which is creating a problem, not the text," he added.

More than three years of fighting in Darfur has killed tens of thousands and forced 2.5 million people into wretched camps.

original article

To stay up to date on the crisis in Darfur please visit The Coalition for Darfur and Sudan Watch
both are updated several times a day and are excellent resources for staying abreast on all issues regarding Darfur.