Post Number: 13
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|Posted on Tuesday, July 05, 2005 - 06:23 pm: ||
Sudan's Government, Darfur Sign Accord By ADIGUN AIYEGBOKIKI, Associated Press Writer
15 minutes ago
ABUJA, Nigeria - Sudan and two Darfur rebel groups signed a "declaration of principles" Tuesday aimed at helping bring peace to Darfur, but failed to reach a comprehensive deal to stop the violence that has left tens of thousands dead in Sudan's western region.
At the end of the fifth round of peace talks, representatives from the government, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement signed a three-page document agreeing to broad commitments, including respecting Sudan's unity, upholding democracy and "justice and equality for all, regardless of ethnicity, religion and gender."
The document also proposed "an effective devolution of powers" to regional authorities and said that Darfur's people should be ensured of a role in all levels of government.
But how to best share power and wealth would be decided at a later date, the document stated. Talks are set to begin anew Aug. 24, mediators said.
Government and insurgent representatives have signed numerous cease-fire and other pacts during past rounds of negotiations, but none has yet calmed the crisis in Darfur.
Rebels from black African tribes took up arms in Darfur in February 2003, complaining of discrimination and oppression by Sudan's Arab-dominated government. The government is accused of responding by backing a scorched-earth counterinsurgency by Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed.
War-induced hunger and disease have killed more than 180,000 people and driven more than two million from their homes, according to U.N. estimates.
Though the document fell short of the comprehensive peace agreement originally hoped for when the latest round of peace talks began last month, negotiators were sanguine nonetheless.
"By adopting the Declaration of Principles, you have demonstrated your own determination that you will not let down the people of Darfur ... and you will not let down our friends in the international community," Salim Ahmed Salim, the African Union's special envoy for Darfur, told negotiators. The 53-nation African Union is hosting the talks.