UN PEACE IN DARFUR A LONG WAY OFF
UNITED NATIONS, July 25 (UPI) -- There is "a long way to go" before sustainable peace comes to the people in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur, a U.N. envoy said.
Ibrahim Gambari, the head of a peacekeeping mission led jointly by the African Union and the United Nations, said the people of Darfur have suffered for too long. Significant challenges remain for sustainable peace, however. "There remains a long way to go," he told members of the U.N. Security Council. "What progress has been made remains fragile and is easily reversible should we lose focus."
Gambari said he was working with regional leaders in an effort to persuade Sudanese leaders to return to the negotiating table. The International Criminal Court in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on war crimes charges in Darfur. The United Nations estimates that at least 300,000 people have died since 2003 as a result of fighting between rebel forces and the government-backed Janjaweed militia.
The Sudanese government arrested a member of an opposition group recently for alleged ties to rebel groups in Darfur. Khartoum, meanwhile, was criticized for its crackdown on student protesters expressing frustrating with a deteriorating economic situation. Gambari added that "many provisions" from previous peace deals for Darfur "remained unimplemented."
NO DECISION YET TO SEND PEACEKEEPING FORCE TO SYRIA
KUCHING -- The Malaysian Armed Forces have not decided yet whether to send a peacekeeping force to Syria, which is currently experiencing violent turbulence. Defense Minister Datuk Seri Dr.Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the decision to send a peacekeeping force there would also depend on the stand of the United Nations Security Council.
"The situation in Syria at the moment is still uncertain. If there is a request, we are prepared to send a team of observers but this will also depend on the cabinet's decision," he said after breaking fast with about 700 members of the MAF at the Solahuddin Al-Ayyubi Mosque, Penrissen Camp, here, today.
Ahmad Zahid said since the country's independence, Malaysia had been able to send about 25,000 members of its security forces to countries torn by internal strife, winning trust and high recognition from the United Nations. He said the success of Malaysia's peacekeeping forces was not limited to security operations in the turbulent countries but also included community welfare programmes organized.