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Sudan wasn’t invited to meet Darfur rebels in Germany: official

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January 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government said it hasn’t received any invitation to meet Darfur movements in Germany.

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Head of government delegation for talks for peace in Darfur Amin Hassan Omer speaks to reporters in Addis Ababa on Friday 20 November 2015 (ST Photo)

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Minni Minnawi on Thursday said it received an invitation to meet the Sudanese government in Berlin by the end of January to sign an agreement that would pave the way for the resumption of negotiations.

However, the rebel umbrella pointed out that they declined the invitation asking to free the political detainees arrested recently over protests against rising bread prices.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) on Sunday quoted the Presidential Envoy for Diplomatic Contact and Negotiation for Darfur Amin Hassan Omer as saying they didn’t receive an invitation to meet the rebel movements in Berlin.

He added “if we receive an official invitation, we will consider it and then respond to it”, saying they “don’t know the so-called SRF and they don’t recognize it”.

Omer further said the door is still open for those who want to join the peace process and the national dialogue.

The German government which is a facilitator for the African Union efforts to end armed conflicts in Sudan hosted several meetings in the past for the opposition groups or between the government and opposition.

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 Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi and the Justice and Equality Movement have engaged in peace talks with the government under the auspices of the African Union.

In August 2016, the two groups signed a Roadmap Agreement with the government in order to end the conflict and participate in an inclusive constitutional conference inside the country.

However, the two sides failed to sign a humanitarian cessation of hostilities in Darfur region.

Since then, the mediation team led by the former South African President Thabo Mbeki has not convened a new round of talks as the facilitators seek the bridge the gaps between the Sudanese antagonists.

SRF is a coalition established in 2011 between rebel groups in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile including the JEM, SLM-MM, Sudan Liberation Movement/SLM-AW led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nour and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N).

Divergences appeared within the SRF groups in October 2015 when the three groups from Darfur region, JEM, SLM-AW and SLM-MM, issued a statement announcing the appointment of the leader of JEM, Gibril Ibrahim, as chairman of the rebel umbrella.

The SRF split in October 2015 into two factions one headed by Gibril Ibrahim and the second by Malik Agar after a difference over the chairmanship of the rebel alliance.

In October 2017, the SRF Gibril held its general conference in Paris. The rebel alliance leaders unanimously elected Minni Minnawi as a new chairman for the umbrella organization.

SLM-AW 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.

(ST)

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