Darfur peace deal in danger of collapsing, UN envoy warns
|The Daily Telegraph, 03 Juillet 2006|
A landmark peace agreement designed to end Darfur's civil war has failed to halt the killing and is at risk of "collapse", according to the United Nations envoy in Sudan.
Jan Pronk, the UN's top official in the country, holds key responsibility for implementing the peace deal. But he gave a bleak assessment of its chances, saying that progress had been "severely paralysed".
"There is a significant risk that the Darfur peace agreement will collapse," Mr Pronk wrote in a weblog. "The agreement does not resonate with the people of Darfur. On the contrary, on the ground, especially amongst the displaced persons, it meets more and more resistance."
The peace accords, signed on May 5, have split Darfur's black African rebels. They took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated regime in 2003, starting a war which has forced two million people from their homes and killed up to 300,000 by violence, starvation or disease.
One faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), which is dominated by the minority Zaghawa tribe, signed the deal along with the Khartoum regime. But a rival SLA group, drawn from the larger Fur tribe, refused to sign.
Minni Minawi, the Zaghawa rebel commander who endorsed the agreement, is now waging a power struggle against Abdul Wahid al-Nur, the leader of the Fur rejectionist wing.
Mr Pronk said Mr Nur was winning that battle and two thirds of Darfur's 1.8 million refugees opposed the deal. They saw the agreement as "forced upon them" and believed that it "strengthens the position of the government and a minority tribe, the Zaghawa," wrote Mr Pronk.
The agreement, reached in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, gives Darfur a greater share of Sudan's oil revenues and more political representation in the Khartoum regime. But Mr Pronk said no one was implementing the deal and every deadline had been missed.