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African Union body renews calls for Darfur rebels to negotiate peace

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May 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) renewed its support on Friday for the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), calling on non-signatory rebel groups to enter negotiations with the Sudanese government.

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A general view of a meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (Photo courtesy of the African Union)

Darfur rebel movements, which refuse to negotiate under the basis of the Doha framework document, proposed last April - jointly with rebel SPLM-N - a roadmap calling to unify the two peace tracks end the armed conflicts in southern and western Sudan, and to hold a national constitutional conference after direct talks on their respective regions.

In a meeting held on 9 May, the 15-member body said concerned by the surge of violence in Darfur last April following a series of military confrontations between the government army and rebels and tribal fighting.

“Council reiterated its call for the non-signatory armed movements to engage in direct negotiations with the Government of Sudan for the cessation of hostilities,” said a statement released on Sunday.

The AUPSC reiterated its support for the Doha text and urged the holdout groups to join the DDPD. It also expressed its full support for the continued efforts of the" joint mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

The statement called on rebel groups in Darfur region to participate in the national dialogue process launched by Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir in January 2014 and requested the government to “spare no efforts in facilitating such participation”.

In a meeting held on on 17 October 2013, the peace and security council said the rebels should negotiate without preconditions under the basis of the Doha text, and threatened to “take measures and recommend to the UN Security Council to do the same against those impeding the search for peace in Darfur”.

However the rebels sought to convince the regional organisation and met with the head of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in March 2014 in a bid to explain their position.

Al-Tom Hajo, deputy chairman of the rebel alliance Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), disclosed in a press conference held in Paris on 9 May that they sought to meet also with the chief of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki. but he declined their demand.

In their roadmap, the SRF forces say the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access, should be prior to direct talks on issues related to Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. In addition, they propose that the constitutional process intervenes after a meeting including opposition forces and sponsored by the AUHIP head, Darfur mediator and UN special envoy to fix the modalities of this political conference.

(ST)

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