UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan pledged on Thursday that the UN Mission in Sudan would do its utmost to support the efforts of the country's newly-formed government of national unity to entrench peace and foster economic development after decades of civil war.
Sudan's President Umar al-Bashir swore in his new cabinet on Thursday, a major step forward in the implementation of the peace agreement signed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 9 January between the government and the former southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).
Of the 29 ministries, 16 remained in the hands of the ruling National Congress Party. Nine went to the SPLM/A, and the remaining four were divided among various other political parties in accordance with the wealth- and power-sharing quotas agreed to under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, Annan also noted that the new government was set up as parties to the conflict in the western region Darfur were in Abuja, Nigeria, under African Union mediation, to negotiate an end to the bitter conflict that has caused thousands of deaths and the displacement of an estimated 1.85 million people.
"The Secretary-General calls on participants in the Abuja negotiations to apply themselves fully to bring an end to the suffering of the people of Darfur by reaching an agreement during this round of talks and by the end of this year," Annan's spokesman said.
Meanwhile, in his monthly report to the Security Council on Darfur, Annan said the region's civilian population must be better protected because they had fallen victim to attacks from armed groups and forced relocation by the previous government.
"One major issue is the protection of internally displaced persons," Annan said. "On some occasions, internally displaced persons who have returned to their villages of origin to cultivate their fields have been attacked, resulting in their re-displacement back to the refugee camps."
Government troops and military police forced their way into the Bella site near Saraf Omra, North Darfur, on 15 and 16 August, destroyed shelters and wounded eight people, Annan said.
"Once again, despite the agreements with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations, the government failed to notify the international humanitarian community of its intentions," Annan said.
He added that the establishment of the government of national unity and the normalisation of the situation in the rest of the Sudan offered tremendous promise for Darfur.
"These developments offer the parties an unprecedented opportunity to translate the present relative stability in Darfur into a lasting settlement, anchored in the new national political order," he said.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions