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Sudanese government, LJM rebels to sign a peace accord on 19 December

December 14, 2010 (DOHA) — Sudanese government and rebel Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) will sign a peace agreement on 19 December, the two parties agreed in a meeting organized by the mediation Tuesday in Doha.


"We agreed today at the level of the steering committee to sign a peace agreement on 19 December," said Tadjadine Beshir Niam, LJM chief negotiator who was speaking following the end of the meeting.

The meeting discussed whether it is opportune to delay the signing in order to allow the other rebel groups to join the process and to seal a comprehensive peace accord but the concerned parties preferred to go ahead and sign the deal.

The Joint Chief Mediator Djibril Bassole held a series of discussions with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Doha over the resumption of direct talks with the government. He also holds close contacts with Abdel Wahid Al-Nur who pledged to join the process.

JEM and other seven groups said in a unity declaration released from London on 12 December they are committed to the Doha venue and willing to take part in the process. But they also expressed the need for two weeks to form their delegation.

Also JEM and Mahgoub Hussein, leader of a LJM splinter faction, required to stop the current process held with Liberation and Justice Movement, a matter that the latter and the government delegation have rejected.

Niam told Sudan Tribune that the government and rebel delegations will meet together Wednesday to finalize discussions over the status of the region.

The parties agreed to establish a regional authority tasked during the interim period with the implementation of the peace agreement in the areas of security, return of IDPs and recovery and development projects.

"At the end of the interim period, Darfurians have to vote on a referendum to determine whether they want to create one region or not," he said.

The government refuses the idea of establishing one region with one region and one government similar to what was agreed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for southern Sudan which will vote for cession within less than a month.

The parties agreed to create an international mechanism headed by the Emir of Qatar to supervise the implementation of the peace agreement. "UNAMID and the African Union Panel also have to promote dialogue in order to achieve reconciliation among Darfurians through the Darfur-Darfur Conference (DDC)".

Formed in Doha from different small factions in February, the rebel Liberation and Justice Movement signed a framework agreement for the peace talks with the Sudanese government including a ceasefire in Doha on March 18.

In his speech to the UN Security Council on 16 November Mbeki stressed that the DDC in addition" will take the necessary decisions which would contribute to the earliest possible conclusion of a Darfur Global Political Agreement".

The head of the African Union Panel intends to hold another process inspired largely by the Truth and Reconciliation process conducted in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid.

Thabo Mbeki the head of the Panel criticized the Doha process saying it gave a wide place for the rebel groups leaving a small role for the civil society. He also proposed the creation of hybrid courts to deal with the war crimes and crimes against humanity, as the International Criminal Court seeks to prosecute these crimes plus genocide charges.

The mediation after the signing on 19 December, will meet with the other rebel groups (JEM and SLM) to figure how they can join the peace agreement.

Former rebel Minni Minnawi last weekend said he talks with the rebel leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur on the reunification of the Sudan Liberation Movement. He also said willing to take part in the peace process.

Observers say without an inclusive peace agreement gathering all the rebel groups, Darfur conflict can continue for several years. The failure of Darfur Peace Agreement is largely attributed to the lack of inclusiveness, they concluded.

The expected separation of South Sudan with many thorny issues is also believed to be a new factor favoring the continuation of the conflict in western Sudan.

(ST)