President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday declared that peace had returned to Sudan’s war-torn Darfur despite a deadlock in African Union-brokered ceasefire talks and persistent fighting that has driven thousands from their homes this year.
He was speaking at a ceremony in North Darfur attended by his counterparts from Qatar, Chad and the CAR.
“We declare to all the people of Darfur and Sudan .. that we have implemented our commitments,” Mr Bashir said in a speech attended by crowds of thousands.
“Darfur is better today than yesterday. And tomorrow it will be even better.”
Bashir, who vowed to develop the strife-torn region, stopped short of outright declaring an end to a 13-year conflict in Darfur.
“We will build roads and better education, health, water and electricity facilities… We will also undertake reconciliation among all Darfur tribes,” President Bashir said to supporters’ cheers.
Talks in Doha in 2011 led to a peace deal with one small rebel faction — the Liberation and Justice Movement — and Wednesday’s ceremony marked its implementation.
Qatar has hosted successive rounds of peace talks between the Arab-dominated Khartoum government and the ethnic minority rebels who took up arms in 2003 against Bashir’s administration, a conflict that has left 300,000 people dead and some 2.5 million displaced.