Home | News    Friday 19 February 2010

Darfur mediator pushing for direct talks on Monday

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February 18, 2010 (DOHA) — The Darfur mediation has called on stakeholders to hold a new round of direct peace talks starting on Monday, February 22 after more than three weeks of consultations among rebel groups on the issue of unity.

Joint Chief Mediator Djibril BassoleSince January 24, delegations from the Sudanese government and rebel movements arrived in the Qatari capital for comprehensive negotiations. These included the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) the Sudan Liberation Movement Revolutionary Forces (SLM-RF) and the Addis Abab Group comprising eight factions.

However, the rebel groups failed to agree on the formation of one unified delegation before the negotiations. JEM proposed the merger of the armed groups in one movement to avoid difficulties encountered during the Abuja talks. The other two groups rejected the idea saying they want only coordination with JEM.

In another effort to attain a joint political stance, the host country, Qatar, received ten days ago the former governor of the Darfur region Tijani El-Sissi, who is backed by Libya. He was proposed to head a joint negotiation team of SLM-RF and the Addis Ababa group. The proposal failed because two factions within the latter rebel coalition rejected him. In addition, the Tripoli and Addis Ababa groups failed to agree on a united delegation.

In a note issued on Thursday, the Joint Mediator invited the Sudanese government and rebel groups for a new round of talks to start next Monday, February 22.

The mediation in its note seen by Sudan Tribune said the negotiations will concern the government delegation and another delegation comprised of "the unified Movements". The rebels have until Monday to form one delegation.

Also, the mediator said the negotiations will address cessation of hostilities, final security arrangements and a comprehensive ceasefire, besides civilians’ security and voluntary return of displaced persons and refugees as well as compensation.

The issues of land, justice, reconciliation, and power and wealth sharing too will be on the negotiating table.

Reliable sources from Doha said two rebel factions – SLM of Ahmed Abdel Shafi and SLM Abdallah Khalil — from Addis Ababa group would leave following a disagreement among their Addis Ababa group. Abdel Shafi had told Sudan Tribune in the past he would not engage in talks with the government before the disarmament of militias and return of IDPs to their homeland.

Abdel Shafi who is from the Fur ethnic group was also opposed to the involvement of Tijani El-Sissi in the peace process as he was not associated to the rebel movements in the past years. Abdallah Khalil, another splinter of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur also was hostile to the former governor of Darfur.

JEM spokesperson Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune that JEM is willing to take part in the peace talks stressing the commitment of his movement to a negotiated settlement of the seven-year conflict.

"Yesterday 17 February was the first anniversary of the goodwill agreement we signed with the Sudanese government last year. The Sudanese and the international community have the opportunity to realize that nothing had been implemented," he said.

"However, despite the daily bombing on civilians and our positions in West Darfur, we are resolved to participate in the direct talks because we took up arms to reach a negotiated political solution," he added.

Ahmed pointed out that JEM rejects Khartoum’s precondition to reach a cessation of hostilities deal and a final peace agreement before next April, when the country is supposed to hold its first free elections since 24 years ago.

Observers close to the talks in Doha said the next round of talks would probably include once again only the Sudanese government and JEM as the mediation wants only one rebel group at the table.

The rebels are expected to present their delegations on Friday to the mediation.
Sudanese government repeatedly said ready for direct talks with any rebel group willing for peace talks. The head of government delegation in Doha Amin Hassan Omer said recently the resolution of conflict needs only one week.

The presidential advisor in charge of the Darfur file, Dr. Ghazi Salah Al-Din affirmed that he expected a breakthrough in the Doha talks. He acknowledged the contribution of the UN-African Union Peacekeeping Mission to maintaining peace in Darfur.

Missing from the talks is the leader of the legacy Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur who lives in exile in Paris. He rejects any negotiations before achieving security on the ground in Darfur.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 19 February 2010 08:46, by Majok Arol Dhieu

    The Rebel have right to reject peace talks if the security is not set properly on the ground. The rebel need to be treat fairly otherwise, the head of the state will face some of the charges labelled against him by ICC.

    You will be there soon!! (O.H.A.B)

    repondre message

  • 19 February 2010 16:45, by Garang Arok

    Consultations from khartoum is always a deadly strategy not a real way out for peace.

    repondre message

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