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Land problems delaying roll-out of UN peace mission in Darfur - Ban Ki-moon

10 October 2007 The timeline for implementing the hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping operation in Darfur is being delayed because of difficulties in obtaining land to house the mission offices and staff accommodations and problems relating to the list of troop-contributing countries, says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his latest progress report on the mission, which is known as UNAMID, Mr. Ban writes that the UN is waiting for feedback from the Sudanese Government on the list of troop-contributing countries.

“It is of critical importance that the Government extend the support and cooperation necessary to resolve the issues pertaining to land, landing rights for United Nations aircraft and the finalization of the list of troop-contributing countries for UNAMID,” he says.

The Security Council authorized the creation of UNAMID earlier this year to try to quell the violence in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003 because of fighting between rebels, Government forces and allied Janjaweed militia.

Later this month, the UN and AU are co-convening peace negotiations in neighbouring Libya between the Sudanese Government and the rebels to try to reach a political solution to the conflict.

In his report Mr. Ban expresses concern about the continuing violence across Darfur, particularly the recent spike in attacks, which he warns “is not contributing to an atmosphere conducive to the peace talks” in Libya.

He also voices concern about the fragmentation of the rebel groups and their lack of unity ahead of the Libya talks, adding that is paramount that all parties enter the negotiation process well prepared and seriously committed to trying to reach a final settlement to the conflict as soon as possible.

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