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Annan welcomes promising developments related to Sudan's troubled Darfur region

10 June 2005 Assistance from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union to airlift additional African Union (AU) peacekeepers into Sudan's troubled Darfur region will help expand the African-led peacekeeping mission there in a timely fashion, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

Welcoming the news of the development – which he has been strongly advocating for the past six months or more – Mr. Annan said in a statement that the pledges of assistance from NATO and the EU would help to ensure the timely expansion of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

He looked forward to the provision of additional practical support and he urged donor countries to make good on the pledges they gave at the conference which he co-chaired with African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Alpha Oumar Konaré in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, late last month, the statement said.

Mr. Annan also welcomed "the long-awaited resumption of the negotiations in Abuja (Nigeria) between the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on a political settlement of the Darfur conflict," talks that start today, the statement said.

Since lasting security in Darfur could only be based on a negotiated resolution of the conflict, "he urges all parties to make full use of these talks, under the able mediation of AU Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim, so that an early political settlement to the conflict may be concluded," said the statement.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) are monitoring the return of 200 internally displaced people (IDPs) from the massive Kalma camp, near Nyala, South Darfur, to their areas of origin on trucks provided by the Sudanese Government "to make sure that they are returning to West Darfur on a voluntary basis."

The Government was planning to send another 6,000 families, or 30,000 people, back to West Darfur after they fled marauding government-affiliated militias.


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