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French FM welcomes Darfur mediators and rebel leader meeting

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July 9, 2010 (PARIS) — French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner welcomed today the move of Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur who announced his support to Qatari efforts to end Darfur conflict.

France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner (Getty)Al-Nur who is based in Paris met on Thursday 8 July with the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud and the Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole to discuss ways allowing him to join the ongoing efforts to end the seven years conflict in Darfur.

The rebel leader who refuses to join the negotiating table told Sudan Tribune on Thursday he discussed the issue of security of civilians in Darfur stressing "There was a strong convergence of views, and we agreed to pursue future meetings to seek ways to join the peace process in Doha".

Minister Kouchner said he met Al-Nur on Thursday evening at the foreign ministry and the later confirmed his intention to back the Doha peace process.

"During our meeting yesterday evening at the Quai d’Orsay, Abdel Wahid Al- Nur has indeed confirmed his intention to contribute actively to the peace process, personally and through his representatives," Kouchner said in a statement released in Paris on Friday.

"This new position of chief of the SLM is the culmination of months of talks held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Abdel Wahid Al-Nur. I am glad he finally took up the challenge of peace," he added.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera today, the rebel leader reaffirmed his supportive position for peace pointing out that the issue of security remains his major demand. He also welcomed the Qatari sponsorship to the peace process to end Darfur conflict.

Al-Nur who refused to join any peace process since 2006 after the failure of Abuja peace agreement, demands Khartoum to provide security to the IDPs and civilians in Darfur and to disarm militias prior to any talks.

"The issue of IDPs’s return and security in Darfur as necessary conditions to achieve peace in Darfur are now admitted by everyone, even Khartoum embraced it as new policy to end the conflict," the rebel leader told Sudan Tribune.

Kouchner called on the SLM members to "to unite behind this position and play a constructive role for peace in Darfur is on the ground at Doha. It is time stop the plight of the people of Darfur,"the minister said.

"This success also crowns the work of Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar and Djibril Bassolé Joint Chief Mediator of the UN and the African Union, who have made tireless efforts for the Peace in Darfur, "he added.

(ST)

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