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Darfur JEM to hold talks with Sudan government in Doha


May 4, 2009 (WASHINGTON) – The Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) will hold talks in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar on the implementation of an agreement signed between the two sides in February.

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Sudanese rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Khalil Ibrahim (back) stands behind his brother Jibril Ibrahim during the signing in Doha, Qatar on February 17, 2009 (AFP)

The ‘goodwill agreement’ signed in the Qatari capital, pledged to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the six-year conflict in the western Sudan region of Darfur.

The JEM spokesperson Ahmed Hussein told Sudan Tribune by phone that the US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration met with JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim and appealed for his movement to rejoin the Doha peace talks.

“This was a gesture of goodwill on our part to prove our seriousness in our pursuit of peace at the request of the US envoy,” Hussein said.

“We are simply going to take part in a process that will oversee the implementation of the agreements we signed” he added.

But the JEM official warned that his movement is not prepared to re-negotiate items that were already agreed upon in the last round of talks including the issue facilitating humanitarian work and swapping of POW’s.

The rebel movement has suspended its participation in any future Doha talks saying Khartoum has breached on the agreement after Khartoum expelled more than a dozen aid groups from Darfur.

Sudan accused these groups of collaborating with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

JEM spokesperson reiterated his group’s demand that expelled groups be allowed to return saying the humanitarian situation on the ground is “dire”.

Qatar pushed JEM hard to drop the link between the Sudan’s decision and resumption of peace talks but with little success.

Hussein said he is “not optimistic” about the outcome of the talks saying that JEM “doubts the seriousness of Khartoum to fulfill obligations of agreements it signs”.

The US has said that Sudan agreed to allow new Western aid groups into Darfur but details remain sketchy.


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