Sudan: Rebels Call On UN Chief to Appoint Neutral and Open Minded Special Envoy for Darfur

Khartoum — The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW) urged the U.N. chief to appoint a neutral and open minded new special representative to lead the joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur UNAMID) after the resignation of Ibrahim Gambari.

SLM-AW rebels watch during the visit of Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari at Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra (West Darfur), 88 km from Tawilla March 18, 2011. Reut

Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General announced on 14 Augsut that Gambari resigned from his positions as UNAMID chief and Joint Chief Mediator, ad interim, effective 31 July.

Ban Ki-moon accepted the resignation and announced that "Gambari's successor will take place once consultations have been finalized. The Deputy Joint Special Representative (Political), Aichatou Mindaoudou, has been appointed Officer-in-Charge of the mission and the Joint Mediation in the meantime."

The rebel SLM-AW called on the UN chief Ban -moon to carefully weigh his decision before appointing a new head of the African Union - United Nations operation in order to avoid the appointment of someone like the former joint special representative Gambari.

Abdel-Rahman Nimir, SLM-AW spokesperson, accused Gambari of lacking objectivity in his relations with the government and the rebel groups saying he gave Sudan's police force vehicles and filled erroneous reports to the U.N. Security Council about security and humanitarian situations on the ground.

"He even attended the marriage of the daughter of a famous janjaweed militia leader accused of playing an important role in the genocide and war crimes in Darfur," he said referring to the wedding of the Chadian president with the daughter of Musa Hilal.

The rebel official said they hope that the new UNAMID chief will be neutral and with an open minded to establish balanced relations with all the parties in the conflict, not working closely with Khartoum only like Gambari.

He also said that the new special representative should focus his efforts on the core of the UNAMID mandate: the protection of civilians, who still continue to suffer attacks by government militias since nine years.

He added the new UNAMID chief should also enhance his cooperation with aid groups to make humanitarian assistance available to all the needy in Darfur particularly in the remote areas.

The Nigerian diplomat who was leading the UNAMID from January 2010, is reportedly seeking to get the position of Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

The Islamic countries in the African continent have to agree on a candidate to take the leadership of the OIC as the position of the secretary general will be for African next year. Many candidates are preparing for this position including the Chadian foreign minister Moussa El-Faki who speaks Arabic.

Nimir urged Ban Ki-moon also to not take into account the religion of the new joint representative saying "what is important for us his integrity and objectivity" when he deals with the Sudanese government or the rebel groups.

"We want a peace mediator who deals with us as parties in the conflict and seeking to achieve peace in Darfur and not peace spoilers as Gambari was saying," he said

He added that the new mediator for peace in Darfur should, however, be prepared to deal with the Sudanese problem and not Darfur crisis only..

The SLM-AW and other Sudanese rebel groups including SLM- Minni Minnawi, Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan people's Liberation Movement of Blue Nile and South Kordofan refuse to hold separate talks and call for a comprehensive process to discuss not only regional problems but also issues of democratic governance and secular state in Sudan.

The SLM-Aw refused to take part in peace talks with the government since the end of Abuja process in 2006. The rebel group asks to end violence on the ground and to ensure the return of displaced civilians to their homeland before to hold political talks on the root cause of the conflict.

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