Tutu to lead 'elders' in Sudan peace mission

By staff writers
September 18, 2007

A delegation of influential elder statesmen without 'elections to win and constituencies to please' is to be led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in the latest initiative to bring peace to Darfur.

At least 200,000 people have died and some 2m forced from their homes during the four year conflict.

The "Elders" will travel to Khartoum at the end of the month to meet representatives from all sides.

They will then go to Darfur to talk to local community leaders and some of the displaced people now living in camps.

Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate and former Archbishop of Cape Town said: "We want community leaders in Darfur to feel that they have been heard by us."

"And to the extent that we could then communicate their aspirations, their longings, particularly the women's groups, we will do so", he said.

Lakhdar Brahimi, Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel will be among the influential former world leaders taking part.

"This is not just a quick trip for The Elders. We want the suffering to end - and we hope to contribute to that" said Tutu.

The group of retired elder statesmen, independent of any government or international organization, came together at the invitation of Nelson Mandela to find ways to tackle some of the world's toughest problems, such as HIV-Aids, poverty and conflict.

Mr Mandela said at the time of the group's inception in July this year, "They don't have careers to build, elections to win and constituencies to please."

That meant the group could speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes, he said.

Keywords:Sudan | darfur
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