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UN urged calm in Darfur as fresh clashes erupt despite peace process

The joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur today urged the Government and one of the leading insurgent groups in the western Sudanese region to stop fighting as it confirmed that fresh clashes had erupted between the two sides despite a peace process intended to end the conflict.

The latest fighting between Government troops and forces of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) resulted in an unknown number of casualties and displaced people, the mission (known as UNAMID) reported.

“We understand that the JEM spokesperson has made remarks about suspending its participation in the Doha talks. We also understand that this is temporary, pending resolution of key issues, and have confidence that the talks will continue,” a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters in New York.

In February the Sudanese Government and JEM signed a Framework Agreement in Doha, Qatar, to pave the way for a final resolution of the conflict in Darfur. The agreement included a provision for a truce.

Mediators are talking with the JEM leadership to deal with their concerns and have urged the group to remain committed to the truce, and to conclude talks with the Government on the ceasefire agreement as well as the final peace settlement.

Violence flared in Darfur in 2003 with several rebel groups, including the JEM and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), taking up arms against the Government as they accused authorities of neglecting the region.

Estimates indicate that the conflict has resulted in the deaths of some 300,000 people. At least 4.7 million residents of Darfur have been have been affected by the conflict, with a majority of them living as internally displaced persons (IDPs) or as refugees in neighbouring Chad.

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