Against the backdrop of an upsurge in violence the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has arrived in Darfur to promote a new peace initiative. Ban has promised to step up pressure for a political solution to the fighting. Last week he outlined a three- point plan centring on the deployment of a beefed-up UN and African Union peace – keeping force. The other elements are renewed peace talks provisionally arranged for next month and a major aid effort.
It is thought around 200,000 people have died and around 2.5 million have been displaced in the war. It erupted when rebel groups took up arms against the government, accusing it of neglecting the region. Ban’s itinerary included a visit to a refugee camp to see at first hand the conditions people have been living in the almost five years of fighting.
An aid operation is underway to ease their plight. But renewed clashes and a failure by both sides to stick to previous commitments could put it in danger.