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Sudanese government, Darfur group to sign peace deal next week

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January 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government and Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (Second Revolution) SLM-SR chaired by Abul Gasim Imam will sign a peace agreement in the Qatari capital, Doha next week, said peace office official.

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Abul Gasim Imam (SMC file photo)

Qatar brokered the Darfur peace negotiations which resulted in the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in July 2011. However, the major rebel groups didn’t join the deal.

Chairman of Darfur peace follow-up office Magdi Khalaf Allah on Thursday disclosed that a peace deal will be signed next week between the Sudanese government and the SLM-SR.

According to Reuters, Khalaf Allah said the agreement with the SLM-SR would be annexed to the DDPD; expressing hope the coming period will witness important developments in Darfur’s peace process.

For his part, SLM-SR chairman confirmed that his movement will sign a peace deal with Khartoum next week in Doha.

He told the Turkish news agency Anadolu that the SLM-SR will join the DDPD, saying they would sign a protocol including security arrangements, IDPs voluntary return and power sharing.

Imam pointed the signing ceremony will be held next week, saying however the exact date would be determined following the completion of some arrangements.

It is noteworthy that Imam has split from the SLM led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nour in 2007 and signed Abuja peace agreement with the Sudanese government. However, he rejoined the rebellion in 2010 accusing the government of dishonoring the deal.

Three rebel movements including SLM-MM led by Minnawi Minnawi, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim and SLM-AW led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nour didn’t join the DDPD.

JEM and SLM-MM call for opening the document for negotiations, saying some issues were ignored or not fairly treated, but Khartoum rejects such request.

In their last meeting from 9 to 14 August 2016 under the auspices of the African Union, the government, JEM and SLM-MM discussed the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement and a humanitarian access agreement.

The two deals are part of confidence building measures conceived by the African mediation to pave the way for an inclusive national dialogue conference inside Sudan.

However, the parties diverged on the location sites of rebel fighters and mechanisms for the monitoring of humanitarian assistance. Also, the two groups raised the release of their prisoners from the Sudanese jails and the need to open the DDPD for discussions.

SLM-AW, however, is not part of the African Union mediated peace talks. The rebel group rejects negotiating a peace agreement with Khartoum government, unless the government militias are disarmed and displaced civilians return to their original areas.

UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

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