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Sudan, Darfur rebels to sign ceasefire agreement in January; official

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The signatories of the pre-negotiation agreement aplaud during the siging cerermoney in Berlin on 6 December 2018
December 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese government and two armed groups in Darfur will sign a ceasefire agreement next January, said the head of Darfur peace implementation office on Monday.

The Government of Sudan, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement -Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) signed a pre-negotiation agreement in Berlin providing to resume talks on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

Speaking at a meeting on land ownership in Darfur in the Sudanese capital, Majedi Khalafalla welcomed the deal and reiterated his government seriousness to achieve peace in western Sudan.

He further said that a cessation of hostilities will be signed on mid-January between the government and the two armed groups.

Within the framework of the African Union Peace and Security efforts to ensure an inclusive process for peace in Sudan, the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access had to be negotiated in Addis Ababa before to move Doha to discuss peace issues.

However, the Berlin Agreement says this confidence-building measure will be negotiated in Doha. Also, it provides that "all the issues that the movements deem instrumental to any sustainable and lasting peace, shall be open for negotiation towards reaching an agreement".

The African Union mediation team would be involved in this step of talks.

The Sudanese official disclosed that Qatar until now has constructed 70 villages for the returnees who regain their areas of origin within the framework of the voluntary return programme. He added that these efforts contributed to restore peace and stability in the region.

He further praised Darfur Land Commission saying it preserved rights of the displaced and refugees in their land. Also, he refuted rebels’ claim that they defend land ownership and make it one of their conditions to negotiation or to sign a peace agreement.

"No one can live in the property of another. Hawakir and land belong to those who own it, and no one can use it without their permission," Stressed Khalafalla.

Land ownership is the main source of intercommunal fighting in the Darfur region. The DDPD provides to reaffirm the restitution of land to displaced, refugees and those dispossessed for any reasons in line with the law of the land.

(ST)

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