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Sudan considers ways to end tension with Chad – Darfur negotiator

June 16, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan said working on ways to stop war of attrition with Chad in order to end the six-year conflict in Darfur.

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The Sudanese Presidential Adviser Attabani poses for a photo with UNAMID chief Adada and the members of their delegations, El Fasher June 11, 2009 (UNAMID-Nektarios Markogiannis)

Ghazi Salah Eddin Attabani, who replaced Nafi Ali Nafi on Darfur peace file, told Reuters today the resolution of Darfur conflict depends on ending tension with Chad.

"When you see the vastness of the territory there and the length of the borders, it is absolutely impossible to patrol the borders unless you reach a real settlement, a political settlement ... We have to find a way to stop this war of attrition between Chad and Sudan."

The presidential adviser also said his government is working on "new suggestions" to ease the tension with the neighboring country. However, he did not elaborate about these proposals.

Since 2005, Sudan and Chad trade accusations of supporting Darfur rebels. The two countries signed different reconciliation agreement but failed to implement it.

Ban Ki-Moon in a report released yesterday said concerned by the "sharp deterioration in Chad-Sudan relations." He urged the two countries to fully implement their mutual agreements, in particular the Doha Agreement of 3 May 2009 and the Dakar Agreement of 13 March 2008.

The government top negotiator also expressed the willingness of his government to commit its self to ceasefire agreement with rebel movements.

"We are demanding to have a ceasefire ... What we are saying is — let’s have a ceasefire agreement, let’s have a framework agreement and move on," he said.

Sudan government and Darfur Justice and Equality Movement are holding peace talks in the Qatari capital. However the negotiations are stalled over the implementation of a goodwill agreement the two parties signed in February 2009.

JEM rebels ask the mediation to report them on the progress made in the humanitarian situation since the eviction of 13 aid groups. Also they want the government to release prisoners of war most of them sentenced to death after an attack in Khartoum in May 2008.

However Sudan says the humanitarian situation is not affected by the forced departure of the international NGOs, and reaffirms readiness to free the detained rebels during the progress of the peace process.

The deadlocked peace process in Doha is also complicated by the rejection of Sudan Liberation Movement of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM/AW) to join the negotiating table.

Contrarily to JEM, the Sudan SLM/AW demands Khartoum to implement a ceasefire and to disarm militias before to engage talks. The rebel group considers the protection of civilians is their main concern and says they are not sure that government would collect weapons even after peace deal.

Attabani during a visit to Darfur last week urged Al-Nur to join the Qatari sponsored peace process.

(ST)