The African Union (AU) on Sunday proposed a new enhanced humanitarian ceasefire agreement to solve the long-due Darfur conflict between the Sudanese government and the Darfur rebel movements.
The action followed a new decision made by the 15-member AU Peace and Security Council on Friday to extend the AU's peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region from March to September 30, in order to gain time to try to mediate a peace agreement between conflicting parties and allow the United Nations(UN) to prepare to take over the job.
The proposal mainly focused on the demilitarization of humanitarian supply routes and camps for refugees. The routes and camps should be protected by AU peacekeepers. All conflicting parties should withdraw forces to clearly identified areas, with buffer zones between them, the proposal said.
The proposal also called on all parties to "bring bloodshed and suffering in the region to an immediate end."
As rebel leaders coming to Abuja, Nigeria to attend the Monday talks, all sides appear pessimistic for reaching a peace deal before the April 30 deadline set by the AU Council.
Clashes flared up in Darfur in February 2003 when local farmers took up arms against the Sudanese government. At least 180,000 people have died, and some two million have been displaced during the clashes.
(Xinhua News Agency March 13, 2006)