News / Africa

New Darfur Peacekeeping Chief to Join Doha Peace Process

The head of the joint African Union/United Nations mission in Darfur is heading to the Qatari capital, Doha to join international efforts to broker a peace deal between Sudan's government and Darfuri rebels. The Doha talks appear to be picking up momentum as the Darfur peacekeeping mission UNAMID expands its role in the political arena.

Newly-appointed UNAMID Chief Ibrahim Gambari says with Sudan's elections looming, a peace agreement between the government and Darfur rebels is urgently needed. "Time is not on our side. Elections are coming in April, referendum next year. And these are national issues because Darfur cannot be addressed in isolation from the rest of Sudan. We have to pay attention to it, and this puts pressure for the need to conclude a peace agreement first," he said.

With that in mind, Gambari, a former Nigerian foreign minister and   veteran UN diplomat is shifting UNAMID's priority from peacekeeping to peacemaking.

He told VOA he will leave for Doha in the next few days to throw his full diplomatic weight behind peace talks led by the joint UN/African Union mediator Djibril Bassole. He says his focus will be on listening to the concerns of the various rebel factions. "The step I intend to take, one is to go to Doha to signal personally my support and that of UNAMID for the  peace process, to support Bassole, but also to complete my consultations. So far my consultations have been with government officials of Sudan, now I need to touch base from the rebel movement and hear from them what  would promote an early conclusion of the peace process and lead it to agreement," he said.

The recent dispatch of Gambari and another top UN diplomat, Haile Menkerios to Sudan signals Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's commitment to make the country among his highest priorities.

Doha has become the focal point for the efforts by a host of mediators to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough on Sudan. President Obama's envoy Scott Gration is involved, along with mediators from such places as Qatar, Libya, and the European Union. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki is also helping in his capacity as chairman of the AU High Level Panel on Darfur. Gambari says he hopes to synchronize the diplomatic process. "I have proposed, and there's a kind of consensus, to have a retreat of all special envoys, representing their countries or the EU, and to strategize, how do we synchronize our efforts to support the number one priority, which is the early conclusion of a ceasefire and a peace agreement. I'm moving fast," he said.

There have been reports of disagreements between High level panel chairman Mbeki and the joint AU/UN mediator Bassole. But Gambari says he is confident the involvement of so many senior African diplomats can make a difference. "The objectives of the Mbeki panel, the objectives of Bassole, the objectives of UNAMID is peace and stability in Sudan, Darfur, in the context of the country as a whole, so it's a partnership. By some coincidence,  all of us happen to be Africans, and I'm committed to try to make it work," he said.

With the election day looming, negotiators are facing tight time constraints. A Sudanese government representative was quoted as saying an agreement must be in place by the third week of March to have any effect on the April 11 vote.

U.S. President Barack Obama this week said he was not sure whether engaging Sudan on Darfur would meet U.S. policy goals. Answering questions through the You Tube internet site, Mr. Obama linked a political settlement to the return of three million Darfuris displaced by the war.

News reports say Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir visited Doha Thursday. He was said to have met the Emir of Qatar to express appreciation for that country's sponsorship of the peace process.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid