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Darfur rebel group announces rejection of Qatari initiative

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December 14, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — A Darfur rebel group today issued a formal rejection of the Qatari mediation efforts saying they do not satisfy the criteria for a “non-biased” broker.

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Ahmed Abdel-Shafi outlined in a statement eleven conditions for the group to mediation by any country.

The rebel faction reiterated accusation to the Sudanese government forces and militias of committing genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Darfuri civilians as well as IDP’s.

“The escalation of military operations shows clearly their intention of pursuing the military options and not serious about reaching a peaceful solution” the SLM statement signed by its spokesperson Islam Al-Hajj.

The statement said that any country offering mediation the Darfur conflict should not be one of Sudan’s neighbors; has military or security agreements with Khartoum; no economic investments in Sudan; enjoy democracy and human rights; be neutral in the Darfur conflict and not supportive of Khartoum.

Furthermore the SLM said that the country must have provided aid to the Darfuris or one of the African governments that can easily be influenced by Khartoum.

They rebel group accused the Qataris of blocking any resolutions against Sudan during their membership in the UN Security Council (UNSC) and “being in denial of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur”.

The SLM-Abdel Shafi was formed from rebel dissidents from Minnawi group because they reject the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) and a breakaway group from the founder of the rebel movement Abdel Wahid Al-Nur who refused to sign the DPA.

But the faction has been hit by a split following the death of one of its commanders Sedig Abdel-Karim, near Wau, capital of West Bahr Al-Ghazal State in Southern Sudan. Senior figures in the faction accused its leader Abdel-Shafi of being behind it and removed him from office.

However Abdel-Shafi dismissed the accusations and said that the move was motivated by his rejection of the Qatari initiative, while they were willing to take part in the talks.

The statement issued today called for the arrest of Abdel-Shafi and the Secretary General Mohamed Ali Klay who was also sacked, until investigation into the death is complete.

“They are still wondering freely in Southern Sudan” the statement said and also suggested that members of Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM) took part in the assassination.

The president of Southern Sudan Salva Kiir formed a commission to investigate the killing.

(ST)

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