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Security Council team and Sudanese President hold talks in Khartoum

6 June 2008 – A visiting Security Council delegation and Sudanese President Omar al Bashir discussed the country’s north-south peace process, the situations in Abyei and Darfur, as well as the African nation’s non-cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC), during a meeting in the capital, Khartoum, a United Nations spokesperson said today.

Last night’s meeting capped off a three-day visit to Sudan by the Council delegation which is currently on a 10-day mission to Africa.

On the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government and the former southern rebels, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York that President al Bashir has informed the Council delegation that an agreement was reached yesterday between his side and the Government of South Sudan to resolve the dispute over Abyei – a town which lies in an oil-rich area near the boundary between north and south Sudan.

“That agreement will be debated by the Parliament of South Sudan today and, if approved, will become effective on 10 June,” Ms. Montas said.

She added that President al Bashir also welcomed a greater role for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in its area of operation, including the region around Abyei.

Regarding the Darfur peace process, the delegation said that President al Bashir has welcomed the proposed creation of the position of Chief Mediator as outlined in Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on war-torn Sudanese region.

In addition, Council members said they regretted that the President continues to reject any possibility of Sudan cooperating with the International Criminal Court (ICC), contrary to its obligations under Security Council resolution 1593, which also Sudan to arrest and surrender those indicted by the Court.

Yesterday ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo told a meeting of the Security Council in New York that “citizens from the Sudan are being deliberately attacked by Sudanese officials…. The entire Darfur region is a crime scene. Despite promises and denials, over the last five years, millions of civilians have been targeted by officials who vowed to protect them. Impunity reigns.”

Despite arrest warrants being issued last April for Ahmad Harun, former Sudanese Minister of State for the Interior and now the Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, and Ali Kushayb, a leader of a pro-Government Janjaweed militia, the two men – accused of committing war crimes – have yet to be apprehended.

The Council delegation is currently in Chad, where it is expected to meet with President Idriss Deby in the capital, N’Djamena.

Earlier today, the team arrived in Abeche, in eastern Chad, where they met with the Force Commander of the European Forces (EUFOR) and with Victor Angelo, head of the UN mission in Chad and Central African Republic (MINURCAT), who briefed the Council on their respective operations.

From there, the Council team flew to Doz Baide, near the Sudanese border, and met with the governor of the region before visiting a camp for refugees from Darfur. Elders at that camp identified security as their main problem.

The Council mission also visited a camp for Chadians displaced by fighting in the region, and received briefings from UN and other humanitarian workers, who also cited security concerns and restrictions on their movement.

The delegation is expected to also visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Côte d’Ivoire during its current visit to Africa, which has already taken Council members to Djibouti and Sudan.

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