AU Interim Chairperson welcomes the agreement reached between Sudan government and SPLM/A

The Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Mr. Amara Essy, welcomes the joint statement issued on 4 February 2003 by the Government of the Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) at the end of their just concluded third round of negotiations in Karen, Kenya.
The Interim Chairperson notes, with satisfaction, the progress made in the discussion on power and wealth sharing despite the outbreak of sporadic armed clashes in the Western Upper Nile, which had the potential for derailing the negotiations. He highly commends the two parties for the spirit of mutual accommodation they continue to display in the talks, but also for their serious commitment to address the important issues which are still outstanding.

The Interim Chairperson especially welcomes the undertaking by both parties to take all necessary steps to effect the immediate voluntary return of the internally displaced civilian population of the Western Upper Nile and Bahr-El-Ghazal to their homes.

Mr. Amara Essy urges the two parties to cooperate with the Channel of Communication established by the MoU and the Verification and Monitoring Team so that further violations of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement which have caused untold suffering on the civilian population in the Sudan, can be avoided.

Finally, the Interim Chairperson appreciates the mediation efforts of Lt. General Lazaro K. Sumbeiywo, Chairman of the IGAD Envoys and representatives of the IGAD partner countries. He calls upon them to continue to bring their wise counsel and influence to bear on the parties to remain engaged in their quest for a mutually satisfactory and lasting peace in the Sudan. In this regard, the African Union will continue to extend maximum support and cooperation to the IGAD mediated peace process, through the active involvement of its Special Envoy, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe and his team.