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Sudan holds Darfur rebels responsible for the recent clashes

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North Darfur governor Abdel wahid Youssef (C) unidentified army general (L) and RSF commander Hametti inspect troops in Ain Siro on 1 June 2017 (ST photo)

June 4, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government Sunday has held Darfur rebel responsible for the recent clashes in the region saying actions of government forces fall within exercising the right of self-defence.

In a series of clashes that began on 20 May, the Sudanese army and its militia fought against the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and the SLM- Transitional Council (SLM-TC) in East and North Darfur states.

In a press release on Sunday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry has called on the Troika countries, the European Union (EU) and the international community to exert more pressure on the armed movements to stick to the peaceful solution “and respond to international and regional initiatives in support of the Government’s efforts to achieve comprehensive peace through dialogue and peaceful means”.

On Thursday, the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, Norway) and the resident European Union Embassies in Khartoum expressed deep concern on the renewed clashes in Darfur, calling on the government and armed groups to return to the negotiating table to reach a cessation of hostilities.

The Troika and EU countries said the hostilities resumed in the region “after a reinforcement from outside Darfur by the armed opposition elements,” said the joint statement in a clear indication that the armed groups violated the unilateral cessation of hostilities declared by the two parties.

The Foreign Ministry pointed to the Troika statement on the recent clashes, accusing the SLM-MM of initiating the attacks “in desperate attempt to reproduce the conflict in Darfur".

It further pointed out to peace, security and stability that have been achieved in the region, saying several international envoys including from the United Nations and the African Union have witnessed the improving situation on the ground.

The press release stressed that the SLM-MM bears full responsibility for the renewed attacks in Darfur, saying the rebel group refuses all initiatives to cease hostilities and engage in a constructive dialogue to achieve a comprehensive political settlement.

“The actions taken by the armed forces and other military and security forces to defeat the brutal aggression of the SLM-MM are an exercise of the inherent right and duty of self-defense and to restore security and stability in Darfur,” read the press release.

On May 2, 2017, the called for an international pressure on Khartoum in order to achieve peace in Darfur, saying the "international inaction" encouraged the Sudanese government to attack the SLM strongholds in Darfur in an attempt to impose its peace through the barrel of a gun.

"The result of this aggression was a humanitarian disaster on innocent civilians, including killing, raping, looting their properties, burning their homes and massive displacement," further said the rebel group.

The Foreign Ministry renewed the national concord government’s commitment to the cease-fire and to resort to dialogue as the optimal means to achieve the comprehensive peace.

It called on the Troika countries to increase their support for the efforts of the government of national concord for the reconstruction and development of Darfur.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and over 2.5 million were displaced.

Doha 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. Also, a dissident JEM joined the DDPD in April 2013.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and SLM-MM have engaged in peace talks with the government under the auspices of the African Union. However, the SLM-TC and the SLM-AW are not part of the African Union-mediated peace talks.

(ST)

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