February 12, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The chief of Darfur peacekeeping joint operation United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari will travel to South Sudan and Uganda to ask for their support to settle the nine year conflict in Sudan’s western region.
- Ibrahim Gambari (Reuters)
Gambari on Sunday told reporters that he informed the Sudanese state minister for foreign affairs, Mansour Yousef Alajab, about his plans to visit Juba and Kampala to ask the governments of the two countries to support the international efforts to bring the holdout rebel groups on board with the peace process in Darfur.
Sudan and the former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) last July but the other group participating in the talks, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), rejected the framework deal.
JEM, two factions of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) and Minni Minniawi (SLM-MM) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) signed last November an alliance pact agreeing that a comprehensive solution for Sudan’s problems requires toppling the regime of President Omer al-Bashir.
Juba and Kampala are seen as main backers of Darfur rebels. Uganda accuses Sudan of supporting rebels of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA), while South Sudan, which has a number of contentious issues with Sudan, accuses it of backing rebel groups.
Gambari underscored that a roadmap for peace in Darfur, prepared by the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN), aims to push the non-signatories to join the DDPD through international and regional pressure.
A tripartite meeting including African Union (AU), UN and the Sudanese government will be held next March in Addis Ababa to discuss the text of the roadmap before its adoption by the competent organisations in the two regional and international bodies.
Before the AU summit last January, Gambari announced he would tour East African countries to meet rebel groups and seek to persuade them join the DDPD. It is not clear whether he still plans to meet them or not.
JEM rebels earlier this month alleged that Gambari is implementing Sudan’s policy to dismantle the camps of the internally displaced persons and support its security forces accused of war crimes in Darfur.
Gambari welcomed the launch of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) tasked with the implementation of the Doha Peace Document and stressed that the UN Security Council (UNSC) has decided to reassess the UNAMID four years since its establishment in 2008. The renewal of the largest peacekeeping operation should be discussed at the UN Security Council in July 2012.
Gambari further said that the funds resulting from the UNAMID reduction will be directed to fund development programmes in Darfur region.
Sudan has demanded last month a reduction to the uniformed personnel of the hybrid operation which is currently composed of 22,990 soldiers and policemen.
Alajab welcomed the UN-AU efforts for peace in Darfur and reiterated Khartoum’s commitment for a negotiated solution with the rebels. He also praised the UNSC decision to review the number of its soldiers deployed in the region.