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Darfurian rebel leader travels to Kenya for medical treatment, says UN mission

14 September 2007 The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) announced today that one of its aircraft has flown the key Darfurian elder and rebel figure Suleiman Jamous to Kenya for medical treatment, in line with an agreement reached last week by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Mr. Jamous left the UN hospital at Kadugli, the capital of Southern Kordofan state, for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for further treatment today.

Last week, during his visit to Sudan, Mr. Ban said Mr. Bashir’s decision to allow Mr. Jamous to leave the country will “create conditions conducive to peace negotiations.” Mr. Jamous is a leading member of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).

Earlier this month, UN and African Union (AU) envoys Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim had vowed to pursue the case of Mr. Jamous, who had been detained by Sudanese authorities, “in view of the role Mr. Jamous can play in the political process.”

The political negotiations between the Government and Darfur’s many rebel groups are slated to take place in Libya on 27 October under the lead of Mr. Eliasson and Mr. Salim.

The talks are designed to try to resolve the underlying issues – including a lack of economic development and scarce resources such as water – driving the conflict that since 2003 has led to the deaths of more than 200,000 people.

Another 2.2 million Sudanese have had to flee their homes because of the fighting between the rebels, Government forces and allied militias known as the Janjaweed. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued warrants for the arrest of two suspects over alleged war crimes in Darfur, and the UN and AU are setting up a hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to quell the violence.

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