Obama dispatches Special Envoy to Darfur peace talks

Washington: U.S. President Barack Obama has dispatched Princeton Lyman, the country’s Special Envoy for Sudan, to the on-going Darfur peace talks in Doha, the State Department said.

Mr. Lyman will join U.S. Senior Advisor on Darfur, Dane Smith, in urging the Sudanese government and Darfuri armed movements to use the remaining weeks of the Doha talks to reach a political agreement, commit to an immediate ceasefire, and take immediate steps to improve security and humanitarian conditions on the ground in Darfur, the State Department said in a statement.

Following their participation in the Doha talks, Mr. Lyman and Mr. Smith will travel to Darfur to evaluate conditions on the ground and explore mechanisms to more fully involve the Darfuri people in the peace process, it said.

Mr. Lyman also plans to travel to Southern Kordofan, where gubernatorial and legislative elections will be held May 2-4.

“There, he will join other international officials in observing the polling process and will discuss with Sudanese authorities the way ahead on the region’s popular consultations, a critical element of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that remains outstanding,” the State Department said.

During his trip, the Special Envoy will also meet with Northern and Southern leaders in Khartoum and Juba as part of sustained dialogue with Sudanese officials on a wide range of issues, including full and timely implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and resolution of the Darfur conflict, it said.