October 23, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel groups in western Sudan rejected a call by the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) to join the Doha peace process to end the 10 year conflict in Darfur and reiterated their demand for a comprehensive peace operation for the whole Sudan.
- A member of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Abdul Wahid stands guard as people stand in line behind him for the arrival of an UNAMID delegation to open a new clinic in Forog, north Darfur in this May 30, 2012 (Albert Gonzalez Farran/UNAMID/Handout via Reuters)
In a meeting held on 17 October, the PSC discussed the efforts of the joint mediator, Mohamed Ibn Chambas to reenergize the peace process in Darfur and called on the non-signatory rebel groups to engage peace talks with the Sudanese government "without any further delay and without preconditions".
The 15 member body which will discuss the situation in Darfur next month further warned it would " take measures and recommend to the UN Security Council to do the same against those impeding the search for peace in Darfur".
"We condemn the communiqué de the Security and Peace Council of 17 October. It would be more appropriate for the African Union to stand beside the victim of the regime (…) and to support the International Criminal Court arrest warrants against its president. We regret that the African body, rather than that, supports criminals and killers", said the spokesperson of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Abu El-Gasim Imam.
The hold-out rebel groups met on 22-27 August with the joint mediator in Arusha, northern Tanzania, where they reaffirmed their commitment to a negotiated agreement to end Darfur conflict. However, they demanded to merge the two peace processes for Darfur and the Two Areas under one mediation and to include the political opposition parties in order to discuss regional crisis and also ways to re-establish democratic regime .
The rebels argued that the partial agreement failed to provide security and peace in the country. Pointing to the Abuja peace pact of May 2006 and the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD signed in July 2011, they said that Khartoum government used to dishonour the signed deals
Speaking to Sudan Tribune after a meeting of the SRF leadership body, Imam said the threat of sanctions by the PSC "would not affect our decision or weaken our determination", adding they are poised to cooperate with any willing to work for a just and comprehensive peace in Sudan.
"We do not want to repeat a failed experiment over and over again and cause more suffering in Sudan", added Iman who had joint the Abuja agreement in November 2006.
On Wednesday, the SRF released a statement welcoming a visit the leader of the opposition National Umma Party, Sadiq Al-Mahdi plans to conduct to Kampala in order to discuss ways to unify the action of the forces opposed to the regime of president Omer Al-Bashir.
The rebel groups that participated in Arusha meeting— Justice and Equality Movement led by Gibril Ibrahim (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) – agreed with the joint chief mediator to meet within 60 days to resume consultations on peaceful settlement.
In a briefing to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday via videoconference from Khartoum, Ibn Chambas said Sudanese government officials welcomed his engagement and expressed willingness to hold talks with the rebels under the DDPD.
"They also indicated that they were open to the participation of the Darfur non-signatory movements in a national dialogue", he further told the council.
alluding to an understanding reached in Arusha to meet with the rebels within two months, the joint mediator further told the UNSC he is planning to hold another meeting with them to discuss the humanitarian situation in Darfur.
"The joint meditation is exploring the possibility of holding a follow-up meeting in the form of a workshop in the near future focused primarily on issues regarding a humanitarian cessation of hostilities and efforts towards a comprehensive peace”, he said.
Asked about the meeting, Imam said they recently discussed with the mediation the organisation of a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Darfur, adding that it would not take place in Arusha this time.