New Chief of UN Peace Keeping Makes First Visit to Field Operation

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The new head of United Nations peacekeeping today paid his first visit to one of
the 16 field operations worldwide, choosing the largest — the joint African
Union-UN mission (UNAMID) in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur.

Herve Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, met with
senior local officials, members of civil society and UNAMID staff as he
travelled around the north of the vast and arid region on Sudan”s western
flank.

Mr. Ladsous and Ibrahim Gambari, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative to
Darfur and the head of UNAMID, visited the North Darfur town of Shangil Tobaya
to meet with community leaders, with whom they discussed development issues,
particularly education and access to water.

The Under-Secretary-General also met North Darfur”s wali or governor, Osman
Mohamed Yousuf Kibir, and representatives of civil society in El Fasher, the
stat
e capital and the headquarters of UNAMID.

He stressed that the peace process must be a Darfurian-led process and
emphasized that the UN”s efforts were aimed at making the process as inclusive
as possible.

Darfur has been wracked by violence and suffering since 2003, when rebel groups
began fighting with Government forces and allied militiamen. As many as 300,000
people have been killed since then and 2.7 million others forced from their
homes, while efforts to bring peace have been complicated by the splintering of
some of the rebel groups.

Mr. Ladsous told UNAMID personnel today that the mission had nevertheless made
“remarkable achievements” to both reduce overall violence in Darfur and boost
support for humanitarian assistance.

“When we remember the horrors and violence of seven years ago and look at the
situation now, I think you can be proud — of your compassion, your energy and
your sacrifices,” he said.

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