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African Union urges progress on Darfur process, threatens sanctions

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Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi at the opening session of Darfur track 23 Nov 2014 (ST Photo)
February 27, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) urged mediators to make progress in the resolution of Darfur conflict during the upcoming three months and threatened to sanction those who continue to hinder the ongoing efforts for a lasting peace.

In a meeting held on 20 February 2018, the PSC said concerned by the "unnecessarily prolonged" process for peace in Darfur and called for a rapid resolution of the 15-year conflict.

The Council further pointed to "the lack of commitment on the part of the non-signatory Darfur armed movements" and urged them to engage discussions with the government on the basis of the Doha Document for peace in Darfur (DDPD).

Following what the meeting directed the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and the hybrid peacekeeping mission known as UNAMID to "continue with their engagement with the parties to the conflict" and update its members on the progress made on the peace process.

Based on the outcome of the mediation’s efforts " the AU Commission should, by May 2018, elaborate possible measures, including possible sanctions, which could be applied against all those who continue to obstruct efforts towards lasting peace and security in Darfur," said a statement released on Monday 27 February.

The holdout groups including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement - Minn Minnawi (SLM-MM) refused to sign the DDPD in July 2011 and called to open the framework agreement for talks.

Other groups like the Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) had declined to join the process and rejected its outcome.

The African Union mediation panel (AUHIP) led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki proposed a holistic process to end the armed conflicts and produce political reforms in Sudan

During the year 2015-2016, talks between the government and the SLM-MM and JEM failed to reach a tangible result despite international efforts to bring together the opposition groups and to narrow the gaps between them and the government.

Last January, the mediation called for a consolations-meeting on a roadmap agreement brokered by the AUHIP in 2016, but the opposition groups declined the meeting considering the imitative as ill-timed as it coincided with protests and detention of opposition leaders.

Alluding to international reports about the use of Darfur groups in the armed conflicts in the region, the Council stressed "the need for scrupulous respect for principles of good neighbourhood in support to efforts aimed at creating a conducive environment for lasting peace and stability in Darfur".

(ST)

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