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Rebels show willingness to settle Darfur conflict - mediator

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October 8, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Darfur peace mediator said today that all Darfur rebel movements are showed strong desire to settle the ongoing conflict in western Sudan and the region.

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Djibril Bassolé

Djibril Bassolé met today with the Presidential Assistant Nafi Ali Nafi who is also government chief negotiator for Darfur talks. The chief mediator had discussed yesterday the Qatari initiative with the chairperson of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Following his meeting, Bassolé told the reporters in Khartoum Wednesday that the rebel movements expressed their desire for peace in Darfur adding "We must work hard to get over the difficulties". He further noted that strong will to achieve peace is what will push all these initiatives forward.

In a press conference held in Paris on Tuesday at the end of his visit to France, Nafi criticised the position of Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, chairman of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) on the peace process.

"Abdel-Wahid does not only refuse the Qatari initiative, but he rejects the whole process of negotiations" said Nafi.

However the African Union – United Nations Mediator asserted that Al-Nur didn’t reject to take part in the peace process but he has some reserves about the negotiations. He also added he had met Abdel Wahid Al-Nur and discussed the issue with him.

Al-Nur had reaffirmed his commitment to the peace process two days ago. He also said that Khartoum lack of credibility conducted his movement to ask first for the ceasefire implementation in order to protect the civilians in Darfur; he also urged the return of the displaced to their villages.

Bassolé, who discussed Al-Nur’s position with the Presidential Assistant, also said he would re-contact Al-Nur to talk about the Qatari initiative.

"I’ll call again, to explain him that the Qatari initiative could lead to a solution for the Darfur conflict," said Bassolé.

Reliable sources in Paris said that Nafi and the chief of the Sudanese security and intelligence services had asked to meet Al-Nur but he turned down their request.

Asked by Sudan Tribune on Monday whether he had met the visiting Sudanese delegation, Al-Nur said he would not meet them before the realisation of the SLM demands on conflict suspension.

(ST)

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