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20 December 2004

Intensified Violence in Darfur Gravely Concerns United States

State Department spokesman calls on all sides to respect cease-fire

The United States is "gravely concerned by the intensified violence" that has been recently taking place in the Darfur region of western Sudan and calls on both the Jingaweit militias and rebel groups to respect the cease-fire agreement and the terms of the humanitarian and security protocols that have been signed in Abuja, Nigeria.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher made that point in a December 20 statement that was released to the press.

Following is the text of Boucher's statement:

(begin text)

Office of the Spokesman
December 20, 2004



The United States is gravely concerned by the intensified violence that has been taking place in Darfur in recent days. The operations carried out by the Government and related activity by the Jingaweit militias have caused untold suffering, displacing tens of thousands of people.

At the same time, we want to emphasize that the Darfur rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement - must also respect the cease-fire agreement and the terms of the humanitarian and security protocols that have been signed in Abuja.

Fighting between the Government of Sudan, Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, and Justice and Equality Movement has affected United Nations and other humanitarian relief agencies' operations in South Darfur. We urge both sides in the strongest terms to cooperate fully with international humanitarian efforts.

The United States and the international community, including the United Nations, speak with one voice on the crisis in Darfur. We want particularly to underscore the staunch support of the United States for the efforts of the African Union on Darfur.

We strongly support the statement issued by the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Alpha Oumar Konare, condemning the large-scale violations of the cease-fire committed by all the parties. We will continue to support the accelerated deployment of the African Union mission and the exercise of its expanded mandate. We also welcome and support the African Union's continued leadership in brokering negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Darfur rebel groups, and see this as vital to ending the conflict.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

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