March 15, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — Five rebel factions agreed today in the Libyan capital to join Darfur peace talks sponsored by the Qatari government in Doha.
- Representatives of five Darfur rebel groups signing the deal creating the United Resistance Front in Juba on Tuesday 8 April 2008 (ST)
Five rebel groups signed on Sunday an agreement to take part in the Doha peace process with one delegation. The signatories of the common ground deal are: the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) – Unity, SLM led by Khamis Abdallah Abakr, the United Resistance Front (URF), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Idris Azraq faction, and the SLM- Juba faction.
The Qatari state minister for foreign affairs, Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, attended the signing of the agreement in Libyan capital, according to the official Qatari News agency (QNA).
The rebel groups who are gathered by the Libyan authorities have committed themselves to participate in the Doha peace talks with one delegation and one position.
Al-Mahmoud expressed his appreciation for the Libyan efforts led by the leader Muammar Gaddafi, Chairman of the African Union, to support Darfur peace process and to reunite some rebel groups.
The Sudanese government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement signed a goodwill agreement last month in the Qatari capital to engage peace talks within three weeks. Since the two parties reaffirmed their commitment to pursue the process but no date has been fixed for the negotiations.
The SLM led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur remains opposed to any peace talks unless Khartoum implement a series of steps on the ground before negotiations. Al-Nur says the IDPs should regain their villages, militias to be disarmed and newcomers to be evacuated.
The Qatari government, the joint mediator reaffirmed their commitment to open the Doha process to the other rebel groups who had slammed the Khartoum-JEM goodwill agreement.
JEM asked for separate talks with Khartoum with the consultation of civil society, IDPs and other social forces in forums to be held on the sidelines of the peace negotiations. Khalil Ibrahim, JEM leader, rejects any move to involve the smaller rebel groups, particularly breakaway factions that fought the rebel group or refused to join it.
The Arab League established on September 8, 2008 a six-member committee headed by Qatar, Arab League Secretary General and the African Union (AU) chairman. The Arab organization tasked Qatar with the hosting and the sponsorship of the talks while it reaffirmed the leading role of the AU-UN mediator Djibril Bassolé.