Home | News    Thursday 16 December 2010

Darfur peace deal unlikely to be signed before referendum

December 15, 2010 (DOHA) — A peace agreement between the government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) is unlikely to be signed on 19 December as it was announced by rebel officials, said sources close to the mediation today.

Tadjadine Beshir Niam, LJM chief negotiator told Sudan Tribune yesterday that they agreed in a meeting held at the level of the steering committee with the mediation and the government delegation to sign a peace agreement on 19 December.

He also said the meeting, after discussions, concluded to not delay the signing of the peace deal as the position of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) remains unclear. However they welcome the rebel movement if it decides to join the agreement later.

However, reliable sources told Sudan Tribune that the mediation still believes that a global peace agreement including the two main rebel groups and LJM remains the best option. It further went to say that the chief mediator works actively with JEM and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur to involve them in the peace process.

"The Mediation is seeking to reach a consensus among key stakeholders (government, JEM, LJM and SLM) to create the suitable conditions for a durable peace in Darfur with the participation of the political parties, civil society and displaced population in Darfur," the source stressed.

The signing of a peace deal between the Sudanese government and the rebel LJM will abort the promising dynamic launched by Djibril Bassole, the source said.

A high level delegation of JEM rebels is currently in Doha since a month discussing with the mediation over the resumption of direct talks with the government. The rebel group requests the freedom of movement in Darfur for its leadership while the mediation says the signing of a ceasefire will end the impasse between the two warring parties.

The outcome of the ongoing consultations with the mediation would be very soon announced said a rebel sources adding "a positive move is to be expected".

JEM and other seven factions said last Sunday they are committed to the Doha peace process. The eight groups who signed an alliance charter said they will announce within two weeks their delegation for Doha process.

SLM leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur told Sudan Tribune, he is in regular contact with the Joint Chief Mediator stressing that peace remains a strategic optionfor his movement. He further said preparations for Paris meeting are "progressing very well".

The rebel leader who is based in Paris moved to Nairobi since two week to meet large consultations with his group before to hold a leadership meeting in the French capital on the peace process.

During a recent visit to Sudan with the mediator, Qatari state minister for foreign affairs said more time is needed to bring a sustainable peace in Darfur. The issue was also discussed with the Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir.

The mediation is expected to announce within 48 hours its official position on the issue.

Sudanese government says a peace agreement before the self determination referendum in South Sudan is suitable to because it wants to dedicate its time and energies during the post-referendum period for issues related to the South.

The Sudanese government and LJM finalized talks since last November but they still diverge on the region status. The rebel group asks to create a regional government to supervise the administration of the three states in the region, but Khartoum refuses to repeat what is considers "an error" conceded to the SPLM in 2005 peace deal.

The parties discussing the establishment of a regional entity to follow-up the implementation of peace agreement, return of IDPs and refugees, and to coordinate recovery and development projects in the region.