Darfur – UN Envoy Doubtful About Peace Process
According to Jan Eliasson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Darfur region, negotiations aimed at ending the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan have stalled and neither the Sudanese government nor the rebel groups trust the process and do not believe that any peace pacts can be implemented. Also, despite a UN resolution on an arms embargo, weapons continue to flow to Darfur and fuel the ongoing crisis.
From the LA Times:
When Jan Eliasson agreed to be a U.N. envoy to Darfur, he believed peace for the beleaguered region of Sudan was within reach. But after 18 months of shuttle diplomacy, rebel groups are more fractured and violent than ever and the Sudanese government is again engaged in brutal attacks on villages, he told the Security Council on Tuesday. The chance for peace has slipped away for now, he told the council “with much regret,” and the focus must revert to restoring security. He scolded all parties in the conflict, including the Security Council and himself, for not doing more to halt the violence. More than 2 million people have been displaced, and most estimates of the death toll since 2003 exceed 200,000. The deployment of U.N. and African Union troops to the region has lagged alarmingly because of Sudanese government obstructions, U.N. bureaucracy and lack of equipment from donor nations, said Eliasson [...].
Human rights activists have called on China to use its substantial influence to push Khartoum to remove obstacles to the full deployment of a U.N.-AU peacekeeping force, known as UNAMID, in Darfur. So far only 9,000 of the planned 26,000 UNAMID troops and police are on the ground in western Sudan.
From a press release by an international coalition of over 40 nongovernmental organizations from all eight countries represented by the G8:
The coalition [of 40 NGOs] is calling for a stronger, more specific statement than one issued during last year’s summit to include issues such as the flow of arms into Darfur. The G8 summit provides an opportunity to urge states to stop all arms transfers to Darfur in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1591 which imposed an arms embargo prohibiting all countries from shipping weapons that go directly or indirectly to Darfur. China is the largest provider of small arms to Sudan.
From a press release by Human Rights First:
By sustaining its weapons sales to the Government of Sudan with full knowledge that Khartoum is committing atrocities in Darfur, China is giving a green light for Khartoum to ignore binding Security Council resolutions. Clearly China cannot be expected to end the atrocities in Darfur, that is the ultimate responsibility of the Government of Sudan. But there is no question that China can stop selling arms to Khartoum, thereby sending a strong message that it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the region.
An extensive report published by Amnesty International covers in detail the effects arms shipments to Sudan by China (and Russia) are having on the people of Darfur and neighbouring eastern Chad.