Finnish Envoy concerned about civilian casualties in Darfur.
"I am very concerned about the news of civilian casualties and new refugees due to the latest clashes in Darfur," Haavisto told Sudan Tribune, adding that he is concerned that medical care has not been available for all the wounded people. During his three day visit in Khartoum he met representatives from the Sudanese Foreign Ministry, as well as several ministers from the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Further, Mr. Haavisto had talks with the leadership of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, which monitors Sudan's 2005 north-south peace deal, and UNMIS, the peacekeeping mission that is caretaking the fragile agreement. Haavisto also met with several EU ambassadors in Khartoum and Djibril Bassole, the AU-UN Chief Mediator for the Darfur conflict. The violence in Darfur comes before a new round of talks and the anticipated indictment of Sudanese President Omer Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court. "While the Darfur talks are now starting in Qatar, all the parties should refrain from violence. This is not the time to go for more fighting," said Haavisto. With government forces poised to storm the town of Muhageriya in South Darfur, international and Darfurian observers warned today that civilians are at risk in the town of 30,000-40,000 inhabitants. Haavisto also encouraged both National Congress Party (NCP) and SPLM to follow their commitments made in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan. "In all my meetings in Khartoum the importance of CPA was underlined. There are not and there will not be any reasons for the parties to undermine the commitments they have made in the CPA," Haavisto said. Haavisto promised that Finland, as a member of the EU and as a friend of Sudan and Africa, will do its utmost to support the North-South peace as well as the settlement of the Darfur crisis. During his visit in Sudan, Haavisto also met with Finnish policemen serving in Darfur in the UNAMID mission. "We have our people on the ground in Darfur. I think this is our concrete message that Finland wants to be part of the solution in Darfur," Haavisto summarized. (ST)
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