Home | News    Thursday 8 October 2009

Russia hails outcome of Darfur summit amid skepticism


October 7, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – The Russian government today commended the workshop that took place in Moscow to discuss ways to resolve the conflict in Darfur and North-South peace process in Sudan.

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Russian envoy Mikhail Margelov (AFP)

The Russian special envoy to Sudan Mikhail Margelov described the forum as “unique” bringing together representatives from the African Union (AU), Arab League, European Union (EU), France, China, United Kingdom and the United States.

A statement released by the special envoys for these countries said they “welcomed signs of progress including over Abyei and towards full deployment of UNAMID, but noted the fundamental challenges remaining”.

The UNAMID spokesperson in Sudan said last week that they were not invited to the conference but provided no explanation except to say that the mission wishes that the workshop would push for a resolution.

The E-6 also urged Sudanese parties and stakeholders “to reach agreement as soon as possible on arrangements for free and fair national elections in 2010 and the 2011 referendum, as well as on a work-plan to address issues of shared interest that will arise after 2011”.

The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) are deadlocked over census results that are to be used in determining the geographical constituencies but the South asserts the figures were rigged and rejects it.

On referendum the two sides differ on the percentage of registered voters required to declare Southern Sudan an independent country. The SPLM has proposed 51% while the NCP proposed 75% and recently raised the stake to 90%.

Margelov was quoted by Russian state media in the closing session as saying that a peace settlement in the largest country in Africa “depends on joint and coordinated efforts of all parties engaged in the conflict”.

Darfur rebels were not invited to the conference prompting angry outcry from Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

“We reject any outcome from this conference, we were not consulted nor did the [Russian] special envoy make any effort in trying to hear our point of views,” JEM spokesperson Ahmed Hussein said.

“This [conference] amounts to a providing a public relations podium for Khartoum without seriously trying to find solutions. The victims were not represented” he said.

“We are not against Russian interests in Sudan but they must consider peoples’ interest and not that of a non-democratic regime” Hussein added.

The motives behind the somewhat recent involvement in the Sudan peace quest has been questioned.

A commentary that appeared in the independent Al-Sudani newspaper said that the Darfur crisis “has drawn the Russian bear”.

The writer said that observers say that Russia is trying to gain a foothold in the continent through Sudan while other say that Moscow is trying to impress upon the international community that it can play a role in resolving international conflicts after the fall of the former Soviet Union.

Last year the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, Mikhail Margelov as special envoy to Sudan.

Both countries enjoy strong military ties and Sudanese authorities also said they could offer Russian companies engaged in the oil sector and railway construction in Sudan benefits to develop bilateral economic ties.


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  • 8 October 2009 06:08, by Time1

    Thank you Russia, we southerners appreciate your honest efforts to bring peace to sudan, you are also our important partner in the peace like America, AU ,UN, EU and others.

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  • 8 October 2009 09:01, by Flora Tong

    Surprisingly, GOSS or SPLM did not attend this national concerns meeting as the media reported? What is wrong with SPLM? When are we going to play e politics of hanging in there even if you disagree with something? This is a bad image SPLM is creating

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    • 8 October 2009 17:37, by Time1

      I heard NCP also did not participate.

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