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Darfur mediator seeks to join government, rebels for talks on national dialogue

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August 7, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Darfur’s joint peace mediator is preparing to hold a meeting with the Sudanese government and rebel groups to discuss the humanitarian situation in the western Sudan region and ways to involve the latter in the national dialogue process.

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UNAMID chief and joint peace mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas (Photo: Albert González Farran/UNAMID)

On Thursday, Mohamed Ibn Chambas briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) about the political and security developments in Darfur as it prepares to renew the mandate of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).

During his briefing, Chambas told the 15-member body he is working with the head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, and the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Sudan and South Sudan, Haile Menkerios, “to synchronise our mediation efforts in line with the request contained in Council resolution 2148 (2014)”.

On 3 April, the council welcomed the dialogue initiative launched by president Omer al-Bashir and demanded the joint mediator to coordinate with Mbeki and Menkerios, stressing that his action should be guided by the “AU and United Nations Facilitation of the Darfur Peace Process”.

Both the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UNSC say the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) should serve as basis for the Darfur peace process.

Chambas said he agreed with the AUHIP chief and UN special envoy to explore “as soon as possible” the organisation of a preparatory meeting with the participation of the government and rebel groups.

“This meeting is expected to explore ways of addressing humanitarian and security situation in Darfur; deliberate on how the parties can bridge their differences and make progress towards a comprehensive settlement of the Darfur conflict and the possibility of a unified mediation framework,” he said.

The rebel groups in Darfur region and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) proposed last April a roadmap for peace in Sudan.

The rebel groups of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) reject the initiative of president Bashir and call for unified humanitarian and security talks with the government. They also say a national conference on a new constitution should be convened with the participation of the opposition parties.

The SRF groups also point to the need for a conducive environment, saying freedom of expression should be guaranteed.

Chambas said there is a broad and general consensus among the international community that the national dialogue represents an opportunity to resolve all the political crises in the country, including the Darfur conflict.

He further called on the Council to encourage this process, stressing that the divergences are on the details of the political process.

“I urge the Council to play a more proactive role in supporting the holding of a successful dialogue in Sudan,” he said.

The Darfur mediator further said he will seek, in coordination with the AUHIP, to persuade the rebel groups to participate in the national dialogue process without preconditions.

In return, he vowed to ask the government to discuss security arrangements with the rebels to ensure their involvement in the dialogue process.

(ST)

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