October 31, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government downplayed down outcome of recent contacts between the Darfurian committee and non-signatory rebel groups, saying there are no encouraging signals indicating their willingness to join the peace process.
- AFP FILE PHOTO - Amin Hassan Omer
A delegation to contact Darfur rebel groups headed by MP Al-Haj Osman Adam Abdellah met with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement Minnin Minnawi (SLM-MM) on 21-23 October in Kampala to discuss ways to end the 10-year conflict in the western Sudan region.
The two groups, according to a joint communique released on 24 October, agreed to prepare position-papers detailing their visions on how to settle peace in Darfur and to reach a comprehensive peace in Sudan in order to discuss it in a conference for Darfur people.
Sudanese state minister Amin Hassan Omer, who chairs Darfur peace follow-up office, told reporters, following a meeting with president Omer Al-Bashir on Thursday that there are indirect contacts with some rebel groups aiming to settle the conflict the region.
However, "we believe that these signals (given by the rebels) are not enough unless it is followed by practical steps towards the establishment of peace", Amin further said in reference to contacts of the committee in Kampala.
The Sudanese government rejects the demand of the rebel groups in Darfur to hold holistic talks on the two conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas. Instead, it accepts to engage talks on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Omer and the head of Darfur regional authority Tijani El-Sissi briefed president Al-Bashir on their visit to the Chadian border town of Um Jarass where they participated in a meeting held on 26-27 October with Zagawa tribe leaders on peace in Darfur organised by the president Idris Deby.
The minister who met in N’djamena again with Deby on 28 October before to return to Khartoum said that the contacts with Chad aim to develop these signals into a fast process to catch up with the peace process in Darfur.
He said that Deby called to en Darfur conflict stressing that peace is crucial for economic development in Chad and Sudan. The Chadian president, according to the minister, said the rebels have become an obstacle towards regional cooperation.
The head of contact committee with the holdout rebels said that the rebel finalized their position papers and would hand it in London during an European tour they will start soon.
AL-NUR SUSPENDS DEPUTY
Abdallah further said he met with JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim, and Minni Minnawi of the SLM, adding he failed to meet Abdel Wahid Al-Nur but instead he met with Abu Al-Gasim Imam who is the deputy chairman of the SLM-AW.
Following these statements, Imam who is also the spokesperson of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) released a statement denying meeting with the committee of contacts or its chairman Abdallah who is also a rich businessman.
Nonetheless, Al-Nur issued a decision suspending Imam and formed a committee to investigate him for contacts with the government. He further appointed Mohamed Zakariah Yahia to replace him.
However, Imam rejected the decision, underlining that his movement merged with the SLM-AW in accordance with an agreement they signed in Kampala on 21 May 2011.