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Darfur conference urges Juba to stop backing rebel groups

July 12, 2012 (KHARTOUM) - A conference for peace in Darfur urged South Sudan’s government to stop its support for rebel groups accused of seeking to foil the ongoing efforts to end the nine year conflict there.

The Darfur Peoples Conference for Peace and Development concluded its work on Thursday by calling for workshops to be held on the level of the five states in Darfur to encourage the voluntary return of displaced persons and to put out a clear strategy, taking into account their needs.

The meeting also underscored the need to finalise the implementation of security arrangements and to establish mechanisms involving the different security and military services to protect the roads and to spread the culture of reconciliation and tolerance.

The participants further expressed their concern over the support that Juba continues to provide to the rebel groups, urging the South Sudanese government to stop harbouring and providing logistics to the holdout movements opposed to the peace deal.

Hammad Ismail, the governor of South Darfur state, told Al-Jazeera on the sideline of the meeting that Juba directs rebel groups to carry out attacks in Darfur in order to frustrate Khartoum government.

Juba denies the presence of rebel groups in its territory and says it does not provide any support to the three rebel groups, which formed an alliance with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement - North (SPLMN) in November of last year.

The two countries are expected to operate a buffer zone along the common border. Also, in accordance to security arrangements the two countries are supposed to be enforcing soon, the two parties will stop their support to rebel groups from the two sides.

United States (US) Chargé D’affaires Joseph D. Stafford, renewed Washington’s support to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and reiterated his administration’s commitment to cooperate with Khartoum and the regional authority to overcome the challenges facing the peace process.

He also expressed the keenness of his government to convince the rebel movements to join the peace process, stressing that no military solution can solve Darfur crisis.

A donor conference should be held next December in Doha to collect some six billions of dollars to implement recovery and development projects in Darfur. Khartoum is facing a severe economic crisis and seemingly is not able to fully honour its financial commitments.

For his part, Hassabu Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, head of the parliamentary bloc of Darfur MPs, told the conference that the President Omar al-Bashir has approved a proposal made by the caucus to include the DDPD in the next Constitution of the country.