Richardson to the rescue in Sudan?

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Just received this press release:

KHARTOUM, SUDAN – New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson today announced that he has secured a commitment from Sudanese President Omer Hassan Al Bashir to agree to a 60-day cessation of hostilities in the Darfur region to allow for a new political process under the Darfur Peace Agreement and the auspices of the African Union and the United Nations. Governor Richardson also spoke this week with rebel leaders who said they would agree to a cease-fire. If all parties follow through with the cease-fire, the A.U. and the U.N. will convene a Peace Summit on March 15 under the framework of the peace agreement.

Governor Richardson also secured the following commitments from President Al Bashir:

  • Agreed not to have the National military aircraft painted in white markings normally reserved for international organizations.
  • Agreed that government forces would attempt to improve security conditions in all areas of Darfur with special emphasis on El Geneina, and would provide protection to food and other humanitarian convoys.
  • Agreed to expedite procedures for entry visas for all humanitarian aid workers as well as goods.  He also agreed to terminate the requirement of exit visas for humanitarian aid workers.
  • Agreed to allow and facilitate travel by journalists from all over the world to Darfur

Governor Richardson and President Al Bashir reiterated that gender-based violence and such crimes must be condemned and prosecuted regardless of which party or organization was responsible. President Bashir said he would welcome a significant contribution of female members to the AU/UN hybrid operations.  In addition the Justice Minister offered analyze and extend existing efforts to support Sudanese women against all gender-based violence.

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