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JEM leader rejects separate talks on Darfur with other rebels

February 25, 2010 (PARIS) — Khalil Ibrahim the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rejected today the idea of separate talks between the government and another rebel group formed yesterday, threatening to withdraw from Doha.

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Khalil Ibrahim, JEM leader, walks after a framework agreement in Doha February 23, 2010. (Reuters)

Sudanese officials announced yesterday following the signing of framework agreement between the Government of Sudan and JEM they would hold separate negotiations with the Liberation Movement for Justice (LMJ), formed from ten rebel factions who had rejected to merge with Justice and equality Movement.

"The two groups JEM and LMJ would not accept unity; so there will be separate negotiation with them only unless they agree to unite at any stage of talks and this may be determined by mediation. The negotiations may end by one document or two documents. But we are seeking to reach one document accepted by all the parties," Ghazi said today morning following his arrival to Khartoum from Doha.

"We do not accept having more than one venue for peace talks, in one issue, and with one mediation. This is unacceptable," said Khalil Ibrahim in an interview with Radio Dabanga to be aired on Thursday.

The rebel leader added he proposed to the 10 factions and still wants to merge with them in one movement before to negotiate with the government. "We want a unity with no winners or losers," he stressed.

The members of the rebel LMJ declined last week JEM’s offer for merger saying they prefer only to have separate delegations coordinating with each other during the talks.

He said these groups have no political or military grounds. He also accused them of doing "business with the cause of Darfur people".

Khalil further spoke about Tijani El-Sissi who is designated by the new rebel group as top negotiator, saying he had never been involved in the armed struggle for Darfur people since 2003 and now he is imposed to negotiate on their behalf.

El-Sissi is a former governor of Darfur, from the largest ethnic group in the region, Fur tribe. He was also member in the Umma Party of Sadig Al-Mahdi. He was approached since last year by the Libyan government to head the rebel factions they gathered in Tripoli.

(ST)