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Darfur rebels say not concerned by Tripoli tripartite meeting

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Feb 20, 2007 (TRIPOLI) — Darfur rebel groups denied participation in a mini-summit held in Tripoli in a bid to find a common ground allowing them to join the Darfur Peace Agreement signed last May between Sudanese government and one rebel faction.

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While Abdelwahid al-Nur, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) told Sudan Tribune that they were not contacted by the talk’s sponsors, the spokesperson of the National Redemption Front (NRF), Ahmed Hussein Adam said they received an invitation from the Eritrean mediator but they declined it.

In Tripoli, the Libyan leader affirmed they expect the arrival of the rebel leaders to take part in the meeting.

Also, in spite of the absence of the Chadian president, the tripartite summit – with the participation of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki — discussed Tuesday night ways to persuade Darfur holdout rebels to join the DPA.

The leader of the SLM said such meeting would not facilitate the resolution of the conflict, as the Sudanese president is not really serious to reach a peace accord. He considers that attention must be given first to the protection of the displaced by international peacekeepers and their resettlement in their villages.

The NRF spokesperson pointed out that Justice and Equality Movement had apologized for not participating because they had not been consulted beforehand over the time and place for talks. He further said that Sudanese president participates in this meeting for Public relations.

Eritrea, which had failed to convince Darfur rebels to negotiate with Khartoum in Asmara, seems attached to continue its efforts for peace in Darfur. The rebels declined the Eritrean invitation because Asmara had closed the door for the participation of the UN and the international facilitators.

Rebel groups of the NRF have good relations with the Libyan authorities but the SLM seems distancing its self from Tripoli.

It was agreed in a compromise reached in Addis Ababa on Nov. 16, 2006 between the UN, AU and the Sudanese government that “The various initiatives must be brought under one umbrella and the AU and UN are best-placed to lead a credible process.” The UN and AU envoys for Darfur were absent from the summit.

Observers say it is clear that this tripartite meeting would not be followed by a decisive resolution on Darfur crisis and that it might mean to amend relations between the Libyan leader and the Sudanese president.

Last month, the Sudanese president Omar al Bashir unexpectedly skipped on a 5 way summit that was held in Sirte, Libya. Also, Libya had stopped the transfer of 50 million US dollar to the African peacekeeping force in Darfur and didn’t support Sudanese candidacy for the African Union presidency.

(ST)

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