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Sudan, armed groups discuss reference to Doha document in Darfur peace talks

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Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi at the opening session of Darfur track 23 Nov 2014 (ST Photo)
May 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - In a two-day meeting held in Berlin, the Sudanese government and two main armed groups in Darfur showed interest to resume talks on Darfur conflict but they failed on how to refer to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

The informal consultations meeting from 18-18 May, included Amin Hassan Omer, the government chief negotiator, Gibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Minni Minnawi leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM). Also, participated in the meeting Ahmed Tugud and Ali Trayo, the chief negotiators of the two groups.

The meeting which was attended by officials from the German government and the U.S. administration aimed at bridging the gaps between the two sides over the DDDPD. The government says any agreement should be on the basis of this framework agreement, while the holdout groups say want a new peace process.

"Both sides said interested in resuming negotiations and demonstrated a lot of openness on what can be negotiated," a source close to the discussions told Sudan tribune on Friday after the end of the meeting.

"However the parties are still at odds on how exactly we can refer to the DDPD," he further said.

During a meeting held in Doha last December including the Sudanese and Qatari government, the former U.S. special envoy and UNAMID, it was agreed to consider the rebel demand for talks on issues already included in the DDPD including compensations and land ownership.

It was also agreed that such deal would be in a special annexe attached to the DDPD.

In a statement released after the meeting, Omer said the German government presented a proposal to narrow the gaps on the positions of the two sides from the DDPD. Also, it disclosed a proposal from the two groups.

"The meeting was characterised by a positive spirit despite the disagreement ( over the DDPD). The German side has offered a proposal for facilitating a rejuvenation of peace efforts in Darfur region, along with another proposal presented by the two armed movements," he said.

"We believe that we can move ahead with the valuable assistance of Germany and other peace-loving nations," he further stressed.

Trayo and Tugud in their statement said "the two movements presented a proposal to push forward the peace process" adding "it was accepted by the facilitators as a working paper", and they would continue consultations on it with the two parties.

The government and the two groups failed in August 2016 to sign a cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purpose as JEM and SLM-MM demanded that Khartoum accepts clearly it would engage in peace negotiations without referring to the DDPD.

UNAMID head who is also tasked with the peace file in Darfur held, earlier this month, a meeting with the two groups in Paris where they handed him over a position paper on the peace negotiations.

(ST)

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