New York - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday welcomed Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's announcement of an immediate ceasefire in the troubled western region of Darfur.
Al-Bashir said the fighting should stop between the government's armed forces and warring factions and called for an effective monitoring mechanism to monitor the ceasefire. He also called for the disarming of militia forces.
Ban "stresses that the effectiveness of any ceasefire depends upon all parties demonstrating their commitment to a cessation of hostilities, particularly since past efforts to uphold a ceasefire in Darfur were not successful," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.
"He further emphasizes that the international community continues to have high expectations that the government of Sudan and the rebel movements will make concrete progress towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict," Okabe said.
The UN Security Council has deployed a large peacekeeping force to Darfur, but it is currently well below the authorized level of 26,000 military troops. The ethnic conflict in Darfur pitting Arab militias and African rebel forces have killed more than 300,000 people since 2003. (dpa)