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Rebel SLM suspends Darfur Peace Agreement implementation

June 27, 2006 (PARIS) — Sudan’s main Darfur rebel movement has officially suspended the implementation of the Darfur peace agreement provoking a tacit split against its leader who signed Abuja deal, a press release said.

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Sudan’s govt Mazjoud al-Khalifa(R) exchanges the African Union (AU) peace agreement for Darfur with Minni Minawi.

The Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Movement known as Minawi faction announced the suspension of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) signed with the Sudanese government in the Nigerian capital Abuja on 5 May 2005.

The statement said it is not concerned by decision taken by members favourable to the peace deal. Nonetheless it welcomes those who want to rejoin the SLM.

The SLM, in this move, takes position against its leader Minawi and his advance delegation to Khartoum, opening the door for more divisions among the rebel groups.

The SLM said that since the signing of the DPA efforts have been done to preserve the unity of the movement and abort the “National Congress party conspiracy” by avoiding divisions.

The press statement said calls were made to hold an extra-ordinary congress to adopt the signed deal but these attempts have been in vain.

The SLM-Minawi signed the DPA while his negotiating team was opposed to the deal. Since his return to Darfur Minawi is settled in the compound of the African Union force in Al-Fashir in northern Dafur.

The military commanders and the majority of the political cadres of the group are angered by the behaviour of Minawi since the signing of the deal. Minawi refuses to pay attention to their position and works with a small group of close partisans.

On 25 June, the official news agency SUNA said the SLM Revolutionary Council of Liberation (Parliament) had approved the DPA. But Esam Edin al-Haj told Sudan Tribune he has “not been informed of such event”. The majority of the SLM parliament members rejects the DPA and no one of its members abroad was invited to attend such meeting.

The statement reiterated the attachment of the SLM to legitimate demands of Darfurians raised during Abuja peace negotiations.

During the Darfur peace talks, the SLM demanded a vice-presidency for Darfur and its fair representation in the federal institutions (government and parliament 26%), also it demands to consider Darfur as one regional entity. On the wealth sharing, the SLM requested a clear definition of the percentage of Darfur, also it asked for a Darfur development body as it is the case for the North-South deal in January 2005. On the security measures, the SLM demanded the disarmament of the Arab militias (Janjaweed), the UN takeover of the peacekeeping mission in Darfur under Chapter Seven.

The SLM renewed Tuesday its commitment to the current ceasefire deal.

The opposed group in the SLM repeated in different occasions they represent the majority of the military commander, if this affirmation is verified on the ground in the coming days that would obligate peace deal broker the African Union and the Sudanese government to reconsider their position towards the current peace process with Minni Minawi.

The last-minute compromise reached in Abuja had taken in consideration the fact the Minawi had the most important military force in Darfur, so as the majority of this force is now against, the peace deal becomes without solid support and the security situation will get worse in the coming days.

(ST)

Important papers to read:

- After 5 May deal, SLM Minawi faces divisions and defections

- Darfur rebel groups demand changes to draft peace pact