UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
SUDAN: South/North agreement key to Darfur peace - UNSC
NAIROBI, 7 Jan 2005 (IRIN) - The UN Security Council expressed hope that resolution to the long-running conflict in southern Sudan, between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), will play a role in determining the conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.
In a press statement released on Wednesday by the Council's president for January, Ambassador César Mayoral of Argentina, the Council said it hoped the agreement between Khartoum and the rebels "would have a positive impact on the situation in Darfur".
The Sudanese government and the SPLM/A signed the final two protocols, last month, of a comprehensive peace deal to end the longest running conflict in Africa.
In the statement, the Council also said that it looked forward to the formal signing of the peace deal on 9 January by the two sides.
Meanwhile in Darfur, UN humanitarian officials were being dispatched to an area around the town of Tina, in North Darfur state, to assess whether the situation there was "safe and appropriate" for the return of large numbers of refugees, according to UN News.
The fighting in Darfur has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and displaced an estimated 1.65 million people, while more than 2.2 million have been affected by the conflict.
The war in Darfur pits Sudanese government troops and militias, allegedly allied to the government, against rebels fighting to end what they have called marginalisation and discrimination of the region's inhabitants by the state. The UN has described the Darfur conflict as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
The war between the SPLM/A and the Sudanese government erupted in the south in 1983 when the rebels took up arms against authorities based in the north to demand greater autonomy. Peace talks between Khartoum and the SPLM/A have been going on in the Kenyan town of Naivasha since mid-2003.
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