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Sudan’s Bashir to attend Darfur peace forum in Chad

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March 22, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir, will fly to the Chadian border town of Um Jaras next week to address the second forum of the border tribes between Sudan and Chad.

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Chadian president Idriss Deby (R) shakes hands with his Sudanese counterpart, Omer Hassan al-Bashir, at a meeting for the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) in N’Djamena on 16 February 2013 (Photo: Ibrahim Adji/AFP/Getty Images)

According to the head of the organising committee, Hassan Bargo, the forum will be held from 25 to 29 March under the auspices of the Chadian president, Idris Deby.

Bargo stressed that rebel leaders who were contacted by the government’s liaison committee expressed willingness to engage in dialogue with the government, pointing to the meetings of the committee with the Sudan liberation Movement Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim which took place in Kampala and Addis Ababa.

According to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA), Bargo announced that Deby will contact the rebel groups following the forum, noting the forum will discuss three working papers covering issues of dialogue and peaceful coexistence, peace and security and development besides the transitional justice.

He underscored that recommendations of the forum will be deployed towards restoring confidence in the local administration and activating its role in mediation and reconciliation in order to achieve peace in the region.

Bargo further pointed that border tribes were invited to attend the forum to bear witnesses for any agreements and commitments, saying all necessary arrangements for holding the forum have been made.

Traditional leaders from the transnational Zaghawa ethnic group, last October, held the first session of the forum and decided to carry out their own demarche with the leaders of JEM and SLM-MM faction to convince them to join peace process.

JEM and SLM-MM who are under African pressure to negotiate peaceful settlement for Darfur crisis with the Sudanese government rejected the outcome of Um Jaras forum, reiterating their call for a comprehensive process to end all the armed conflicts in Sudan and to establish a democratic regime.

Following the end of a workshop organised by the joint chief mediator last December to discuss ways to bring peace in Darfur with the two non-signatory rebel groups, the joint chief mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas issued a statement welcoming the rebels’ "willingness" to negotiate with the government.

However, the rebels reaffirmed in a separate communiqué their demand for a holistic process and proposed a comprehensive cessation of hostilities in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

(ST)

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