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Darfur referendum is part of Abuja peace deal, says Sudanese official

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March 5, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – A Sudanese Presidential adviser said peace in Darfur will not be hostage to the rebel groups stressing that the referendum on the administrative status of the region will be held as provided in Abuja peace agreement.

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Presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Al-Deen, (R) visits Otash IDPa camp near Nyala, South Darfur (file photo/ South Darfur State website)

Ghazi Salah Al-Deen who is entrusted with Darfur file, made his statements before a meeting of the Consultative Council of Darfur Leadership of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) on Saturday in reaction to rebels’ rejection of his recent remarks about the organization of a referenda.

Following his return from Doha last Monday the Sudanese official said a plebiscite would be held within three months to break the deadlock in the peace talks on the issue of Darfur status.

The referendum on the administrative situation of the region is stipulated in the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed in 2006 with the rebel Minni Minnawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), Ghazi said.

He emphasized that the DPA provides to hold the referendum one year after the general elections, asserting that the 2006 deal is binding to all the parties because it is the basis of the whole peace process in Darfur.

The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) said the organization of the referendum aims to topple the Doha peace forum to pave the way for the domestication of the conflict.

"We reject this step, which impedes the progress of peace negotiations in Doha, and transgresses clearly what has been agreed in the framework agreements and good intentions," said a joint statement released by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and LJM on Thursday from Doha.

However Ghazi reiterated today the commitment of his government to the Doha talks adding they do not want to exclude any party form the peace process despite the fact that no agreement is signed since two years.

He said the new government strategy for Darfur is the basis for peace from inside the Sudan. He added this plan aims to promote development, security, reconciliation and the return of internally displaced persons and refugees.

The surge of violence in the region of Darfur triggered new displacement of civilians. This week the hybrid peacekeeping mission said hundreds of villagers fled Thabit area, 50 km from El-Fasher the capital of North Darfur.

Hussein Abu Sharati, the spokesperson of the IDPs in Darfur, said the situation is worse than 2004 when the government troops and militias burnt villages systematically as part of a counter-insurgency campaign.

He also the IDPs would stage daily protests in the three capitals of Darfur states to draw the attention to their miserable situation and force the government to stop the attacks carried by its militias in the region.

(ST)

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