The newly appointed head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, met with members from key rebel militia as part of a series of talks on the prospects for a durable peace in the war-scarred region in western Sudan.
The meeting, which took place in the Qatari capital of Doha, was held between UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari and negotiators from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army/Armed Revolutionary Front (SLA/ARF).
UNAMID noted that the talks, covering a range of issues relating to cooperation between the joint peacekeeping operation and the rebel groups, were transparent, constructive and promising, with all parties committed to working closely to advance the peace process in Darfur.
The JEM and SLA/ARF militia also underscored the need to reach an agreement to end all hostilities and tackle the root causes of the conflict in Darfur.
In addition, the parties voiced their desire to cooperate with UNAMID, which was set up in late 2007 to protect civilians and quell the violence in Darfur, where an estimated 300 000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million have been forced from their homes since fighting erupted in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and allied Janjaweed militiamen.
At the end of last month, Gambari held talks with Sudanese officials in Khartoum, where he expressed appreciation for the warm welcome he received from the Government and people of Sudan since arriving in the country and vowed to do his utmost to promote lasting peace and security in Darfur.