OIC and UNAMID agree to boost cooperation on Darfur

The Joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) agreed Saturday to enhance their joint cooperation to achieve peace and reconstruction in Darfur.

The head of the joint mission Ibrahim Gambari met on Saturday with OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu at the OIC Headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The meeting took place one month after a donor conference for Darfur development and reconstruction held on March 21 in Cairo sponsored by the Islamic countries body.

During the meeting "Gambari stressed on closer cooperation between the OIC and UNAMID, in particular in the field of early recovery and development in Darfur, said a press statement released following the meeting on Saturday.

"He focused on UNAMID's presence in the field and mentioned about his participation in the OIC Donor Conference for Darfur in Cairo as a testimony to UNAMID's willingness in assisting the OIC in implementing its projects in Darfur," it further stressed.

The two sides agreed to push forward their efforts to boost their cooperation and collaboration under the cooperation framework of the OIC-UN and OIC-AU relations.

Since his appointment at the beginning of this year Gambari seeks to extend the role of the largest peacekeeping operation to include active participation in humanitarian, recovery and rehabilitation as well as reconstruction areas, believing that peace and stability in Darfur could not only be reached by the strict security role of the mission in the restive region where UNAMID personnel and humanitarian aid workers also exposed to the daily violence.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune from Jeddah, the UNAMID official spokesperson, Noureddine Mezni who travelled with Gambari, said the Joint Special Representative will curtail his visit to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with President Omer Al-Bashir over the four kidnapped peacekeepers.

Gambari who was initially planning to travel Sunday to Riyadh for meetings with Saudi officials, has rescheduled this visit at a later date, he said

"He will return this morning to Khartoum where he will be received by President Omer Bashir. The issue of the four UNAMID abducted peacekeepers will be on the top of the agenda of the meeting," he said.

The abductors said last week they would release the four South African police advisers kidnapped since April 11, after the results of the elections.