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Security Council pledges help to implement southern Sudan peace accord

10 January 2005 The United Nations Security Council today pledged aid, including the deployment of a peace support operation in southern Sudan, after yesterday's signing by the Government and rebels of an accord formally ending two decades of civil war that has killed at least 2 million people, uprooted 4 million more and sent 600,000 into exile.

"Members of the Security Council will expeditiously consider appropriate UN support for implementation of the peace agreement, including deployment of a peace support operation, and look to the international community, once implementation begins, to provide assistance for its implementation, as well as for the reconstruction and rehabilitation process," the President of the 15-member body, Ambassador Csar Mayoral of Argentina, said in a press statement.

The Council also stressed its "continued determination" to monitor Sudan's other major conflict in the western Darfur region, where 1.65 million people have been displaced, and Janjaweed and pro-government militias stand accused of killing and raping thousands of villagers in what the UN has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Council underscored the obligation of all parties to the Darfur conflict to maintain an already violated ceasefire that was signed in April and to work towards a peaceful settlement.

Welcoming the southern Sudan agreement signed in Nairobi, Kenya, the statement praised the perseverance of Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Chairman John Garang of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) who negotiated the deal.

"Members of the Security Council express their hope and conviction that the signature of this agreement will mark a watershed in the history of the Sudan, look forward to its implementation, and call on the emerging Government of National Unity to work expeditiously to consolidate peace throughout the country," it said.

It called on the new Government to "commit itself fully and actively to ending the violence in Darfur."

Meanwhile, the UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) reported that a planned polio immunization campaign got off to a flying start today with apparently no security incidents, as teams of vaccinators fanned out across the north of the country, including Darfur where it is hoped to reach more than 1 million children.

A similar campaign in southern Sudan is due to start on 17 January. The UN has called for "Days of Tranquillity" across Africa's largest country to allow the immunization to proceed unhindered by military activity, saying such a pause will build a momentum towards peace.

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