Sudan: Statement by Minister Pettigrew on resumption of Darfur peace talks and recent events in the region

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew today made the following statement on the resumption of the Darfur peace talks and recent incidents of violence in the region of Darfur, Sudan:
"Canada welcomes the resumption of the African Union-led peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, as a crucial step along the road to achieving a lasting peace in Darfur. This round of peace talks is all the more important in light of recently reported violence in Darfur, and specifically reports of renewed violence initiated by a rebel faction in Sheiria.

Canada is deeply concerned, in particular, about the protection of civilians in the region. Canada calls on all parties involved to ensure the safety and security of aid workers and allow humanitarian agencies full and unhindered access to people in need. We urge all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in these circumstances, and to continue to seek a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict."

Canada continues to work for peace in Darfur. On May 12, 2005, in support of international efforts toward peace and stability in Darfur, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced up to $170 million for the peace process, for peacebuilding and for increased assistance for the African Union Mission in Sudan. He also announced the creation of a Special Advisory Team, headed by his Personal Representative for Africa, Ambassador Robert Fowler, and including Senator Mobina Jaffer and Senator Romeo Dallaire. The May 12 aid package is in addition to the $90 million in humanitarian assistance that Canada pledged on April 11, 2005, at the Oslo Donors Conference on Sudan. The $90-million package was designed to help consolidate peace following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Canada is present as an observer at the Abuja peace talks, providing financial and diplomatic support.

For further information, media representatives may contact:
Sébastien Théberge
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs