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Darfur peace talks to resume after elections - mediation

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April 28, 010 (DOHA) – Due to the general elections in Sudan that will begin within three days, Darfur joint mediation suspended today the peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups announcing its resumption after the vote.

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AU-UN mediator for Darfur Djibril Bassole (L) arrives with Qatar’s state FM Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmud, at a meeting with a rebel group in Doha, Jan 26, 2010. (Reuters)

The Sudanese government had warned that the peace process would be stopped after the elections, and urged the rebel groups to conclude a peace deal before the April 11, date of the general elections.

The joint African Union-United Nations Chief Mediator for Darfur, Dijbril Bassole confirmed on Thursday that the talks will continue after the elections. However, no date had been determined as the new government may appoint others officials to negotiate with the rebel groups.

Last week, Bassole had announced that no peace dead to be signed before the elections. "It is unlikely that a peace agreement will be concluded before the elections," he stated last Wednesday.

Since last January, delegations from the government and Darfur rebel groups are gathered in Doha. But after failing to agree on one delegation to start the negotiations, the government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) signed a framework agreement on February 23. While the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) inked a separate framework deal with the Sudanese government on March 18.

"The Mediation earnestly calls on the parties to fully comply with the declared ceasefire with a view to promoting confidence among the parties, improving the security and humanitarian conditions in Darfur, creating an environment conducive to negotiations and alleviating the sufferings of the population in Darfur,” says a joint statement released today in Doha by the Joint Chief Mediator and the Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Qatar Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud.

However Sudanese government and JEM rebels traded accusations of violating the ceasefire agreement, as LJM continues to negotiate an agreement on security arrangement yet to be finalized.

A third rebel group the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur is still out of the peace process like two other SLM factions led by Ahmed Abdel Shafi and Abdallah Yahia who are currently in Doha seeking to open a third session.

The improvement of the Sudan-Chad relations was seen as positive element in the ongoing efforts to end the seven year conflict. The two countries deployed a joint force to control rebel cross-border movement and committed themselves to help each other to reach a peaceful solution for the political conflicts in their respective countries.

The Chadian President Idriss Deby pushed JEM rebels to sign Doha framework agreement as Sudanese government is putting pressures of the Chadian rebels to return to Ndjamena to compete in November legislative elections and January presidential polling.

(ST)

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