The likely suspension of Darfur peace negotiations will allow
for more constructive talks later, the Chinese special envoy to
Africa said yesterday.
"The adjournment is not a sign of failure. It's a preparation
for other steps," Liu Guijin said.
Jan Eliasson, the chief UN envoy of an UN-African Union
mediation team, would not say when the talks, which opened on
Saturday in Sirte, a coastal Libyan city, would adjourn but
stressed the step was necessary to allow for full-fledged
"Only after that period ... of approximately three weeks, will
we get into substantial negotiations," Eliasson said.
No major Darfur rebel chief was present for the opening of the
talks on Saturday, dashing hopes that a quick peace agreement could
be reached to end the four-year conflict.
In a sign of progress, the Sudanese government announced a
unilateral new ceasefire at the start of the talks on Saturday.
Liu urged the parties to the negotiations to reach a
comprehensive peace accord, which will ensure the presence of a
peacekeeping mission, reconstruction and economic development in
The main opposition factions in Darfur should forge a united
front and take part in the process of political talks, Liu
China's proposal for a two-pronged approach - political
negotiations and a peacekeeping mission - has begun to be accepted
by the international community, Wang Yingying, director of the
department of African studies at the China Institute of
International Studies, told China Daily yesterday.
Some Western countries had overemphasized the importance of
peacekeeping and ignored the necessity of a political solution; but
now they have discovered such an approach didn't work very well,
"They began to realize that, without compromises from the
government or rebel groups sitting around the negotiating table, it
is difficult to even start the peacekeeping mission."
Despite the absence of the chiefs of major rebel groups, it
doesn't mean that political negotiations have come to a dead-end,
"It means that a political solution requires more time and
patience. Two or three conferences are not enough to resolve such a
big problem," she said.
"But we did see that thanks to increasing pressure upon rebel
groups, some of them did join the peace talks and more are expected
to follow," she added.
(China Daily October 29, 2007)