Home | News    Wednesday 23 March 2011

Rebel movements agree to coordinate positions for peace in Darfur

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March 22, 2011 (DOHA) — The rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) agreed today in Doha to fully coordinate their positions in the Doha peace process for peace in Darfur and to prepare ways for their merger in the future.

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Azhary Shatta for LJM (L) and Ahmed Hussein Adam for JEM hold up a copy of the coordination agreement signed Tuesday 22 March in Doha (ST)

The peace negotiations between the two movements and the Sudanese government are deadlocked due to the disagreement over the administrative status of Darfur. Khartoum infuriated the rebels recently when it announced a referendum on the future of the region transgressing the framework agreements, which provide to discuss it with them.

Today’s agreement is seen a step forwards full unity of the two groups after their first rapprochement announced on 29 January when they committed themselves to work hand in hand for the first time in the Doha peace forum.

"We have agreed to unify our efforts, join our ranks and have full coordination between us; in the hope to reach a full unity in the very foreseeable future, and aiming at including all the resistance forces concerned in such unity," reads the agreement signed today by Ahmed Hussein Adam, a leading JEM figure recently appointed adviser for external relations and Azhary Mohamed Shatta LJM Chairman adviser.

The parties, who called upon the other rebel groups in Darfur to unite and denounce fragmentation, further said they will continue their discussion on the coordination along issues related to negotiations, media, politics and the field.

They also said they will set up "the appropriate committees and mechanisms" to achieve the declared goals.

The two groups stressed that a negotiated solution is the best choice to end the conflict. They further emphasized they are committed to the "Doha Forum as the sole venue for the negotiation process".

Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune that a joint delegation from the two signatories formally handed a copy of the agreement to the mediation today after the press conference held in Doha to announce the agreement.

He also stressed that peace remains a strategic option for JEM, adding "We are not here to obstruct the process but to create the needed conditions for a just and lasting peace. This is a message of hope for Darfur people who suffer since long years ago".

Khartoum was very critical of the return of JEM rebels to the negotiating table in Doha, saying they are not serious to reach an agreement to end the conflict and want only to hamper the talks with LJM.

Last week the mediation submitted four chapters to the government and the two rebel groups asking them to adopt it before to resume talks on the pending protocols. JEM despite the fact that these chapters were negotiated by the government and LJM gave its approval to many points and formulated some observations to others.

Divisions among Darfur rebels is one of the reasons hampering the settlement of the conflict. International community and Darfur civil society groups called on the different armed movements to unite for the interest of the region.

The two rebel groups reaffirmed today in their press conference held in Doha today that this alliance is strategic and will not only limited to the peace in Darfur but because they want Darfur people to be in the "driving seat" to determine the future of the Sudan.

In a parallel move, the Justice and the Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) led by Minni Minawi issued a joint statement asserting to work for the unity of the resistance forces in Darfur.

They also called for the unity of all the political forces in the country to rid the country of Bashir’s government.

Ahmed Hussein said they are also consulting with the SLM led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur to gather all the rebel movements around one political platform.

(ST)

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