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Armed groups call for international humanitarian response in Darfur

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JCM Jeremiah Kingsley Mamabolo (C) poses for a picture with JEM Gibril Ibrahim (L) and SLM Mininni Minnawi and members of their delegations on 3 May 2017 (ST)
June 13, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - In a meeting with the head of Darfur hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) this week, two armed groups have condemned the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the western Sudan regional and called for an international response.

In a joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Tuesday, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/R-MM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said they met with the UNAMID head, Jeremiah Kingsley Mamabolo, in Paris on the 9th of June 2017.

The two groups who are part of the African Union-brokered peace process said they discussed with Mamabolo, the political situation in the country and the recent fighting that began on 19 May in North Darfur and East Darfur.

The meeting further discussed "the worsening of the humanitarian crisis and the need for an effective monitored and verifiable cessation of hostilities that paves the way for comprehensive political negotiations".

"The two movements urged the UNAMID and the international community to swiftly respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation," it further said.

In a humanitarian report released on Monday, the SLM-MM deplored the international silence over what is described as " humanitarian violations," and underscored that UN reports d not reflect the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in Darfur.

Regarding the last month clashes in North and East Darfur states, the statement accused the Sudanese government of attacking the rebel positions and breaching the unilateral cessation of hostilities.

"The two movements reiterated commitment to their previously declared unilateral cessation of hostilities and expressed their commitment to peaceful resolution of the conflict in spite the fact that the Government of Sudan violated its own declared unilateral cessation of hostilities by initiating the ongoing military operations that led to the exacerbation of the humanitarian situation in the Region," said the statement.

The Sudanese government denies the accusations and says the assailant rebel fighters came from Libya and South Sudan, repeating that the region is free of rebels.

On June 1st, the Troika countries and the resident European Union Embassies in Khartoum called on the warring parties to return to the negotiating table to reach a cessation of hostilities. However, they pointed that the hostilities resumed in the region “after reinforcement from outside Darfur by the armed opposition elements”.

The SLM-MM and JEM, nonetheless, expressed their deep concern for the Government’s violation of "International Human Rights Law relating to the treatment of POWs, the use of aerial bombardment against civilians, extrajudicial killings, and mass displacements".

In August 2016, the two holdout groups failed to reach a humanitarian cessation of hostilities with the government as they insisted on the need to clearly include that the political talks would not be based on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

Since, the two armed movements held a series of meetings in Paris and Doha with the Qatari mediator, the head of UNAMID and former U.S. special envoy to define “how such a negotiation process for Darfur would operate and how it will relate to the ongoing AUHIP Roadmap Agreement process for resolving both the Darfur and Two Areas conflicts”.

Last month, the two groups handed over to Mamabolo, who is also the joint mediator for Darfur peace process, a position paper on how and what they want to negotiate to achieve peace in the west Sudan region of Darfur.

(ST)

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