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Darfur peace talks face new divergences in Doha

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June 11, 2011 (DOHA) — Peace talks between the government and rebel groups are at deadlock as Khartoum refuses to concede on the pending issues with Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), while talks open the with Justice and Equality movement (JEM) on only two issues.

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Mediator Bassole (L) and Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Al-Mahmoud walk after a meeting with Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in Khartoum Nov 27, 2010 - (Reuters)

Over 500 delegates during the last week of May adopted a framework document as basis for peace agreements between the Sudanese government and rebel groups stressing on the need for a comprehensive peace in the restive region of Darfur.

Khartoum and LJM rebels pledged to sign an agreement after finalizing pending issues related to the post of Sudan’s vice-president, security arrangements and a referendum that Khartoum said intending to hold in July this year.

JEM welcomed the framework document saying it constitutes a good base for talks, but Khartoum said the adopted text is not open to discussion.

The head of the government delegation at the peace process, Amin Hassan Omer, told the government aligned Sudan Media Centre (SMC) that the Doha document is not negotiable stressing that talks ended with the adoption of the text at the stakeholders conference.

The Sudanese state minister added that they can discuss only two issues with JEM, security arrangements and rebels’ participation in power. He further stressed the government refuses any preconditions from the rebel group.

Gibreel Adam Bilal, JEM spokesperson, told Sudan Tribune that they refused a government proposition to hold talks on the two issues.

"We reject talks on JEM political integration only and we told the government and the mediation that we are ready for talks on the six chapters of the peace document," Gibreel said.

He further said the stakeholders conference called for a comprehensive peace process and urged the mediation to implement its resolutions on this respect.

The Sudanese government and the LJM have failed since last November to agree on the referendum, and the allocation of a post of vice-president for Darfur region.

The text of the peace document says the referendum should be held at least one year before the presidential election. Nonetheless, the Sudanese government refuses to delay the plebiscite on Darfur’s administrative status, saying the adoption of a permanent constitution implies to conclude this issue as soon as possible.

LJM chief negotiator Tadjadine Bechir Niam told Sudan Tribune that they failed once again in a meeting held yesterday to reach a solution on two pending issues and decided to refer it to the mediation to present a compromise to the two parties.

"The government still refuses to delay the referendum from July. Also, on the security arrangements they retracted from a previous deal and asked to determine the number of rebel combatants to be integrated after verification on the ground for the positions held by LJM," Niam said.

On the issue of the vice-president, the rebel negotiator said they failed to agree on whether the vice-president should be from one of the rebel movements or proposed from their part.

The government said a vice-president would be appointed during the current term from Darfur but refused to include it in the constitution.

The Sudanese government and LJM rebels said they will sign a peace agreement in Doha before the end of June. Also Khartoum said JEM has a delay of three months to finalize a peace agreement before negotiations will be closed definitively.

(ST)

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