Tripoli shows the way

THE African Union (AU) and the UN have taken the first step to reorganise all the Darfur peace initiatives, which have so far been in a muddle, into a significant whole.

The Tripoli talks have begun amid fears of escalating violence in the troubled western region of Sudan. The situation is deteriorating with each passing day what with Khartoum continuing with its bombing campaigns in northern and western Darfur. Human rights violations are on the rise.

When the state fails to protect its civilians, outsiders like the US and rich European nations have to step in without, of course, imposing on the crisis-ridden nation their imperialistic agenda.

The US has been threatening the Bashir regime, which is currently enjoying an oil boom, with targeted sanctions. But the permanent members of the UN Security Council have not yet been able to put real pressure on the janjaweed militias and their supporters in the ruling party to give up their murderous missions.

On the other hand, African neighbours have remained divided over making conscious efforts to put an end to the bloodshed.

Unifying AU and international initiatives, what the Tripoli summit apparently aims to achieve is fixing a timetable for talks with rebel groups and making them signatories to peace accords. All the peace efforts in the past have failed in this regard. Only one or two rebel groups have so far signed peace treaties with the government while countless others are still at large. Rebels have been accused of criminality and warlordism thereby compounding the humanitarian crises in the region. Therefore, it's imperative that major rebel groups like the Justice and Equality Movement are brought to the talks table.

The AU and the UN should also persuade the Sudanese government to address the real issues and fix a deadline for resolving the crisis. The state has showed some signs of relenting though. It has agreed to allow a mixed UN-AU peacekeeping force into the Western region.

It is hoped that all such efforts will eventually coalesce to ensure a lasting peace in Darfur.

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