Darfur peace talks will continue, say UN and AU

( AFP ) - The United Nations and African Union said on Sunday there was no question of interrupting the Darfur peace process launched in Libya on Saturday despite calls by rebels there to do so.

"I refuse to state that the peace process is interrupted," UN Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson said at the end of Sunday's session. "The train has left the station for the road to peace.

"The question is now many passengers will get on the train. We are ready to receive them," he told a news conference in reference to rebel groups that are boycotting the Sirte talks.

Eliasson said mediators would continue closed-door talks on Monday between rebel movements present at the talks and the Sudanese government delegation in an effort to end four years of violence in the western Sudanese region.

Earlier UN diplomats spoke of a three-phase peace process, the first being advance consultation. This would be followed by internal consensus building and then by actual peace negotiations.

Although the Khartoum government declared a unilateral ceasefire at the start of the meeting on Saturday, key rebel groups have boycotted the talks.

"We can't talk about success or failure at this stage. The most important thing is that the process has begun," AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni said earlier.

Mezni told AFP that the chief negotiators, the UN's Taye Zerihoun and the AU's Sam Ibok, still hope to bring the boycotting rebel factions to the table.

"We will now begin the process of planning the way forward," AU envoy to Darfur Salim Ahmed Salim told reporters. "The next step will be how to create the necessary conditions which will enable the process of negotiations to start.

"We should not try to put fixed deadlines but at the same time we cannot afford an endless process," he said.

Only six minor rebel groups have turned up in Sirte and they have sent "second rank" representatives with little power, a UN diplomat acknowledged.

In a joint statement, the six factions called on the mediators to set a timeframe for further negotiations with the rebel groups that are boycotting the peace talks to try to persuade them to take part.

"We need an additional period of time which will be set by the mediators to continue negotiations with those who are absent and prepare the appropriate conditions" for substantive talks, said the joint statement read by Tejeddine Niem of the breakaway Justice and Equality Movement faction of Abu Garda.

"To reach a just and comprehensive peace... we want no significant armed group to be sidelined," the statement added.

"We are continuing our efforts and contacts with our absent brothers to convince them to join the peace talks so that we do not end up with an outcome like in Abuja" in 2006, where one rebel group signed a peace deal with the government and two other groups declined to do so.

African Union Peace and Security Council commissioner Saeed Djinnit said that "everything will be done in terms of reconciliation at the same time as moving quickly towards a peace agreement and the need for the groups to prepare themselves as necessary for negotiations."

Addressing Saturday's opening of the conference, host Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi said the absent Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement were "fundamental" to peace in Darfur.

"I consider their leaders to be my sons, even if they are disobedient, but without them we cannot make peace.

"I see that this conference must stop here," he said, before launching a broadside against the talks' sponsors, saying the UN and AU were not competent bodies to resolve "a tribal conflict."

The opening session also heard a warning from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that rebel leaders who stayed away from the talks had much to lose.

"I am disappointed that some movement leaders have chosen to stay away from Sirte today. To them, I wish to say that the door remains open, but that if they continue to stay away, there is much they stand to lose," said a message from Ban delivered by Eliasson.

"The UN and AU believe that all Darfurians should be represented, and hope that they will be," he added.

The other rebel factions attending the Sirte talks include the JEM breakway faction of Lazraq, the Group of 19, the National Movement for Reform and Development and the United Revolutionary Forces Front.

But another eight rebel factions, including the most important, are staying away, casting a pall over the bid to end slaughter which is estimated to have killed 200,000 in four years and displaced two million. Khartoum puts the death toll much lower.

REAP to promote introduction of sustainable production in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
REAP to promote introduction of sustainable production in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
Value of OIC states' import from Turkey shows decline
Value of OIC states' import from Turkey shows decline
Kazakhstan increases exports to Tajikistan over 9M2020
Kazakhstan increases exports to Tajikistan over 9M2020
Loading Bars
Azerbaijani, Bulgarian FMs discuss bilateral cooperation
Azerbaijani public reveres memory of martyrs of Karabakh conflict (PHOTO)
Electricity Market Concept Design defines gradual retail market opening in Georgia
Import of rice by Azerbaijan up
Baku Metro opens tender to buy tire connections
French parliament loses ability to be serious partner – Turkish Grand National Assembly
Investments in Georgian Poti Free Industrial Zone diversified by regional countries
Iran's next years budget unlikely to improve economy - Head of Parliament Plan and Budget Commission
Azerbaijan raises value of imports from Lithuania in 10M2020
Big foreign IT companies entering Georgia's market
Azerbaijan's Compulsory Insurance Bureau compensating bankrupted insurer's creditors
Georgia sees increase in tangerines export
Azerbaijan shows video footage from Yanshag village of Kalbajar district (VIDEO)
EDB, KazakhExport to jointly insure exports of insulated cars from Kazakhstan
Georgian Chamber of Commerce working on several projects to help SMEs
Azerbaijan's irrigation company to finance power supply of crop areas
Turkmenistan builts new mosque in Afghanistan's Akina town (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani, Latvian FMs exchange views on current situation in region
International organizations aim to finance road construction and repair in Georgia
Georgia sees increase in imports of dairy products
Azerbaijan unveils 10M2020 railway export operations
EDB to fund investment projects in priority sectors of Kazakhstan Development Bank
Azerbaijani FM receives Belarusian ambassador amid completion of his diplomatic mission (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry delivers diplomatic note to French ambassador
Global debt to hit $200 trillion - S&P Global
Turkmengas opens tender for purchase of general equipment
Ankara honors memory of Azerbaijan's martyrs (PHOTO)
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva: We will never forget Patriotic War martyrs (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan applies Lithuanian company's hotel management system project
“Ural Airlines” to take citizens of the Russian Federation out of Azerbaijan
Serbia to pay off loan received from Azerbaijan for road construction
Turkish export cargo to China to pass through Port of Baku
Uzbekistan Airways resumes flights to Kazakhstan’s Nur-Sultan
SOCAR Ukraine's aviation fuel imports for November
Surge in COVID-19 cases reported at Kazakhstan's Tengiz oil field
Turkish president supports Azerbaijani counterpart’s recommendation to France
SOCAR expands its activities in Ukraine
Iran – UK trade could improve by money transfer facilities
Turkey records more Uzbek companies in 10M2020
Budget of Georgia Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure to be highest
Rostelecom increases capacity of Uzbektelecom's access to Russian segment of Internet
Central Bank of Azerbaijan eyes to raise funds on Bloomberg trading platform
Azerbaijan was rooting for us – National gymnastics team member (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan ramps up goods exports via stationary transport
UAE’s activity on Turkmenistan’s exchange in November
Azerbaijan confirms 4,267 new COVID-19 cases, 2,566 recoveries
Kazakhstan Development Bank to co-op to promote EAEU integration
Karabakh to become ecotourism center of regional importance - Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Azerbaijan
Oil moves up towards $50/bbl after OPEC+ supply compromise
Number of COVID-19 infections in Russia increases by 27,403 in 24 hours
Turkish minister to get acquainted with construction progress of Kars logistics center
International law firms enter Georgian market
EU urges countries to keep COVID in check over festive season
Baku cathedral parishioners honor memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Bank of Israel intervenes in foreign exchange market
Turkey, Iran commemorating Azerbaijani martyrs of Patriotic War
Uzbekistan’s volume of media market up in 2021
Kazakhstan, Russia agree on steps to expand co-op in geology
Iran-Iraq Joint Trade Commission to be established soon
Karabakh can become leading IT Hub in South Caucasus, says Azerbaijani analyst
Kazakhstan to launch manufacturing of Russian anti-COVID vaccine before year-end
Ganja honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan's Patriotic War (PHOTO)
Substantial NATO-Georgia Package updated at meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Belonging of Nagorno-Karabakh region determined upon relevant UN Security Council’s resolutions - press secretary of Russian president
UNHCR reveals details of joint meeting with Turkmenistan to end statelessness
Kazakhstan ups trade with Turkey for 10M2020
EBRD reduces its equity stake in Georgian TBC Bank
TAP to hold market test to double capacity
Second Karabakh war - brightest page in national memory of Azerbaijan, says Russian cleric
Azerbaijan presents musical composition commemorating martyrs of Patriotic War (VIDEO)
Amnesty International unveils photo proof of Armenian-inflicted damage in liberated Kalbajar (PHOTO)
Iran to increase revenue by development of gas transmission
Energy Commission of Iranian Chamber of Commerce discusses oil revenue forecast
9 Azerbaijani gymnasts return from European Championships with medals - head coach
Ukraine to continue supporting Azerbaijan's territorial integrity
Mountain Jewish Community honors memory of martyrs of Azerbaijan’s Patriotic War (PHOTO)
UNHCR talks cooperation with Turkmenistan on fight against statelessness
ENI to support activities of center to develop oil&gas engineering in Kazakhstan
Beeline mobile operator working in Khankendi city - fake news, Russian web portal says
Azerbaijan Banks Association to develop digital payment ecosystem
Trade takes up largest share in total turnover of Georgian business sector
Uzbekistan considers production of Bentley electric vehicles
Iran's Minister of Petroleum discusses OPEC+ meetings
Kazakhstan more than doubles petroleum oil exports to Croatia
Caspian Drilling Company updates on Satti rig upgrade
Gold price in Azerbaijan up
Kazakhstan, Austria trade turnover down year-on-year
Turkmenistan exploring possibility of producing cement from local raw materials
Turkmenistan working to maintain technical condition of gas pipelines
OPEC+ decision: Oil glut could be hitting the market soon
Georgia hits record high COVID-19 daily cases
Azerbaijan Banks Association implementing new banking services project
Georgia plans to subsidize the interest on leasing for event companies
Georgian business sector shows downward trend in production
German industrial orders rise more than expected in October
Azerbaijan launches joint ATM network of commercial banks
Clients of closed banks in Azerbaijan continue receiving compensations
Kazakhstan doubles exports to Croatia despite COVID-19 pandemic
Any threats against Azerbaijan's territorial integrity must be averted, Erdogan tells Rouhani
Azerbaijan commemorates bright memory of martyrs with minute of silence (VIDEO)
All news