UN envoy to Darfur to resign to make way for new, full-time negotiator
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The top U.N. envoy to Darfur is resigning to make room for a new full-time chief negotiator, the Swedish Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
Envoy Jan Eliasson, a former Swedish foreign minister, said he would continue to work as a special adviser on Darfur, but that the situation was so serious that it was "extremely important" to take realistic action, state-run radio reported.
He said earlier this month that efforts to restart peace talks had reached an impasse.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in fighting has raged in the western Sudanese region since ethnic African tribesmen took up arms in 2003, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination. The Arab-dominated Sudanese government is accused of responding by unleashing tribal militia, known as janjaweed, which have committed atrocities against Darfur's local communities.
Eliasson and the African Union's envoy to Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim, suggested the U.N. Security Council appoint a full-time negotiator, according to Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Petra Hansson.
Swedish radio quoted unidentified sources as saying Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibrill Bossole may be considered for the job.
According to a U.N. Security Council resolution, there should be 20,000 peacekeepers and 5,000 police deployed in Darfur, the radio report quoted Eliasson as saying.
"Today we have fewer than 10,000, so the Security Council should take its responsibility and implement the resolutions that it passes," he said on he radio report.
"There is reason to be critical toward the fact that it has not been possible to implement the Security Council's resolution," he was quoted as saying.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)