January 23, 2017 (DOHA) - Sudan’s government and rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (Second Revolution) SLM-SR chaired by Abul Gasim Imam Monday have signed a peace agreement in the Qatari capital, Doha on the bases of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
Qatar brokered the Darfur peace negotiations which resulted in the signing of the 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.
The signing ceremony was attended by the Sudanese presidential assistant Musa Mohamed Ahmed, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud and the Joint Special Representative and head of hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Jeremiah Nyamane Kingsley Mamabolo.
Following the signing of the peace agreement, Al Mahmoud said the DDPD has “crowned efforts of all partners keen to achieve interests of the people in the region and laid the necessary foundations to resolve the conflict”.
He added the DDPD has also opened a wide door for implementing reconstruction and development projects, saying the SLM-SR has followed the lead of LJM and the JEM-Bashar by joining the document.
Al Mahomud further pointed the agreement was initialed in N’djamena following efforts made by the Chadian officials, describing the DDPD as general framework for peace.
“As such, the [DDPD] can’t be renegotiated because opening it [for negotiations] denies rights of Darfur people, [Sudanese] government and the [armed] movements that joined peace on the bases of the document. The alternative [to the DDPD] is chaos,” he said.
He stressed the importance of creating favorable conditions for the voluntary return of IDPs to their original villages in light of the availability of basic components for a decent life.
“We must continue to implement development projects adopted by the International Donors Conference held in Doha,” he said.
The Qatari official urged donors to meet their pledges, calling for the need to search for new development partners to empower Darfur people who will bear the burden of reconstruction and development in the coming years.
For his part, SLM-SR chairman Abul Gasim Imam has described the signing of the peace agreement as “victory for the will of peace over the war agenda”, pointing to the adverse impact of war on the residents and development efforts.
He said they would join efforts with other signatories of the DDPD to implement the document fully, urging Qatar and donors to continue their efforts to implement development projects in Darfur.
Imam further called on holdout movements to join the peace process.
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, who have engaged in peace talks with the Sudanese government under the auspices of the African Union, call for opening the document for negotiations, saying some issues were ignored or not fairly treated, but Khartoum rejects such request.
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.