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JEM splinters hold general conference ahead of peace talks with Khartoum

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November 18, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - A splinter group will start its general conference today to elect a new leadership and adopt positions they intend to defend in peace negotiations they will engage in with Khartoum.

An important number of military commanders from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) broke away from their political leadership and formed an interim military council - the JEM-MC - last September chaired and led by Mohamed Bashar Ahmed.

The group also signed last month a goodwill agreement with the Sudanese government after secret meetings in Doha. The parties are expected to commence direct talks after this conference.

"The general conference of the Justice and Equality Movement will be held on Monday 19 November in the liberated area of Darma, North Darfur," said Ali Wafi spokesperson of JEM–MC in a statement released on Sunday.

He said the conference will elect a new leadership, form legislative and executive institutions and review JEM’s statute and regulations. He further added that the meeting will discuss the current situation and adopt a clear political vision.

Wafi said representatives of different sectors including refugees, displaced persons, students, women, youth, and political parties, civil society will attend the gathering besides foreign delegates.

The rebels said last month they accepted that the talks will be based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), a framework text prepared by the joint mediation following a two-year process inaugurated by JEM and the Sudanese government but the group did not sign it.

The holdout rebel groups say the DDPA failed to end violence and bring peace in the region and accused Khartoum of not implementing it.

North Darfur State governor, Osman Kibir on Sunday called on the mediation to invest more efforts to bring non-signatoriy rebel groups into the peace process. He added that personal ambitions of rebel leaders hamper the ongoing efforts to achieve peace in the region.

On the other hand, the head of Darfur Regional Authority, Tijani Al-Sissi, met Sunday with foreign diplomats based in Khartoum to brief them about projects that will be presented to donors meeting and urged them to brief their governments about it.

He told the meeting that the projects, the donors will be asked to fund, will focus on four areas: voluntary repatriation of IDPs and refugees, reconstruction and development, repair the social fabric, and sustainable security.

Asked about the surge of violence in Darfur, Tijani Al-Sissi said that violence is "confined in limited areas".

The donors conference initially was scheduled for December but it was postponed for January 2013. No date has been yet fixed.

(ST)

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