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U.S.-led TROIKA condemns clashes in Darfur’s Jebel Marra, calls for sanctions

Some IDPs who fled the fighting in Jebel Marra in April 2018 (ST photos)
June 19, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Troika countries have denounced the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement -Abdel Wahid in Jebel Marra area of Darfur saying this "unnecessary violence" affects only the civilians.

Since last March, the two warring parties resumed clashes in different parts of the mountainous area. As a result of the government gradually began massing troops and intensified the fighting.

last week, a military source said the government mobilize more than 2,000 troops including the Rapid Support Forces to retake several positions in Jebel Kali and Badia areas claiming the rebel captured taking advantage of the unilateral cessation of hostilities.

"The civilian population continues to bear the brunt of this unnecessary violence, which has led to the burning down of villages, causing high numbers of civilian injury and death, and the displacement of nearly 9,000 people," the Troika countries (Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States) stressed in a statement on Tuesday.

Regarding the Sudanese government, the three countries condemned the denied of humanitarian access to the conflict zones and "strongly urges the Government of Sudan to immediately provide unfettered access to both UNAMID and humanitarian actors.

CALL FOR SANCTION

The statement further pointed to the refusal of the rebel SLM-AW to take part in the peace process saying its position "obstructs the achievement of sustainable peace in Darfur and unnecessarily prolongs civilian suffering".

The Troika, also, said the government military operations undermines the efforts to end the conflict through a negotiated solution.

"There can be no military solution to the conflict in Darfur and the international community should consider imposing sanctions against those who continue to act as spoilers," stressed the statement.

The United Nations Security Council is set to vote a resolution drafted by the penholder on Darfur, United Kingdom, extending the mandate of the UNAMID for one year. This resolution further provides to close 14 peacekeeping sites in the whole region but maintains 13 sites in Jebel Marra.

The statement called to allow unfettered humanitarian access and to "meaningfully engage" with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP)-led peace process in order to reach a permanent ceasefire.

Two holdout armed groups, SLM-Minnawi and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) are engaged in peace talks with the government. The mediators hope to finalize a pre-negotiation agreement and to start peace talks before the end of December 2018.

The SLM-AW boycotts any peace talks with the government and refuses to declare a unilateral cessation of hostilities. The SLM-MM and JEM from one side and the government are committed to a unilateral ceasefire in Darfur.

(ST)