News

    Limited Attendance Marks Darfur Talks Debut

    With Darfur peace talks said to be in jeopardy even before they began over the weekend in Libya, Sudan’s government announced a unilateral cease-fire. Several key rebel groups failed to attend the talks, which got under way Saturday in the Mediterranean seaside town of Sirte under the watchful eye of Sirte’s leading resident, Libyan President Muammar Gadhafi. One day later, an end to their opening phase was marked by speculation that the next phase would be postponed until abstaining rebel groups had fully prepared their positions and agreed to come to the negotiating table.  George Ola-Davies is UN spokesman to Jan Eliasson, the Secretary General’s special envoy to Darfur.  From Sirte, Ola-Davies says the organizers are eager for others to appear.

    “It is not everybody that is boycotting.  We’re expecting more leaders to come here.  We are hoping that those who say they will not come now will have a change of heart and come.  We are hoping that those who have requested for some time to organize themselves will find it necessary to come so that their voices could be heard.  We wish for the internally displaced persons to be here.  We have among us the civil society movement.  We hope that everybody will be here so that we can look at the problems, find the solutions to them, and the people of Darfur live in peace and harmony for years to come,” he said.

    The negotiations are being sponsored by the United Nations and the African Union to help pave the way for a political settlement ahead of the planned deployment of a reinforced 26-thousand-troop peacekeeping force due in the troubled region by early next year.  They follow by two days an agreement signed in Sirte last Thursday by Chadian President Idriss Deby and four rebel groups that operate in eastern Chad along the border with Sudan’s Darfur region.  Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attended the Libyan-sponsored talks on Chad, but did not stay on for Saturday’s start of the Darfur talks, for which he was not a designated negotiator.  Ola-Davies points out that stopping the Darfur fighting is just a prelude to what he hopes will be a serious process of building the framework of a lasting settlement of the four-and-a-half-year-old conflict.

    “What the negotiators are trying to do is to get everybody on board to agree to a cessation of hostilities, simply because you cannot be fighting and talking at the same time.  When the issues that are to be tackled will be tackled – and there are many – we have to talk about wealth sharing, power sharing, security, land problems.  Most of the groups are thinking of preparing themselves now to continue with the process which has already started here,” he noted.

    International mediators are indicating that the next phase of the talks may continue until the end of the year with the possibility that more rebel groups may enlist as the talks progress.  However, sponsors had been hoping that the Libya discussions would help UN prospects for achieving a political settlement ahead of the planned deployment of the hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force across the embattled Western Sudan region by early next year.  Ola-Davies says organizers do not plan to place any deadlines on Darfur groups reluctant to come to terms with other parties involved.

    “Listen, you cannot put any timetable to talks.  That does not mean it should be an open-ended one.  We are, as I say, at the preparatory stage.  Special envoys have made it clear that there are phases we are going to go into.  We are only at the beginning,” he says.  

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora