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Humanitarian cessation of hostilities should not be limited to Darfur: JEM

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November 8, 2013 (PARIS) - The leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim has called for a comprehensive cessation of hostilities in Sudan, stressing they would not accept to be part in any discussion aiming to limit it to the Darfur region.

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A man guards sacks of food at a food distribution centre at Shangli Tobay village in North Darfur, in this June 18, 2013 ( Reuters)

Darfur joint chief mediator, Mohamed Ibn Chambas plans to hold a workshop with the rebel groups in Addis Ababa to discuss the humanitarian situation in the western Sudanese region. The meeting will further tackle a humanitarian cessation of hostilities.

This workshop is a follow-up to a five-day meeting held in Tanzania last August over how to achieve peace in Darfur attended by JEM and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM).

"The workshop should discuss humanitarian matters from a comprehensive perspective ", said Gibril Ibrahim in an interview with the Sudan Tribune. "To this end we asked the participation of [African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) chief] Thabo Mbeki in the workshop because we will not discuss Darfur alone", he added.

Ibrahim argued that the forces of the rebel alliance Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) cannot cease hostilities in a region and continue to fight in another region.

The joint mediator met last week with the rebel groups in Kampala to discuss the preparations of this meeting but he has not communicated the final arrangements of the workshop.

UN agencies and the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur issued different reports speaking about the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the region as result of the rampant insecurity and tribal fighting.

The SRF rebels, including JEM, SLM led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, SLM-MM, and SPLM-N, call for a holistic process leading to the organisation of new election and eventually the end of the current regime.

However the African Union, which is involved in the mediation of the two conflicts of Darfur region and Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, refuses to follow their demands and urges them to join the negotiating table without preconditions.

Gibril accused the African Union of following the position of the Sudanese government and refusing to meet them or to hear their point of view.

"We sought to meet the African Union but they avoid us. They believe that the joint mediator is the right channel to reach them and we should communicate through him. But they listen to one party and endorse its position", he said.

The rebel leader who will meet next week European Union reprsentatives with other leaders of the SRF further said they proposed to the mediator and the international envoys who attended Arusha meeting in Tanzania to modify the mandate of the joint chief negotiator to enable him to discuss issue related to the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

"We said they have to appoint one peace mediator for the whole Sudan or they have to assign a third person who jointly work the existing mediators to supervise the comprehensive process", he said.

Last August Sudanese government officials welcomed the efforts exerted by the joint mediator and reiterated Khartoum’s readiness to engage talks with Darfur rebel groups on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur.

(ST)

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