Delegations from the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality Movement - one of the rebel groups in the Sudanese region of Darfur - have signed a declaration affirming their commitment to the ongoing peace process there, the immediate cessation of hostilities and the resumption of negotiations "in order to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the conflict" on the basis of the so-called Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).
The two parties also agreed on a time frame to start talks after the Muslim religious holiday of Eid Al-Adha, taking place on Friday, 26 October, added a statement issued by the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
The statement was issued in the Qatari capital of Doha, where the parties have been engaged in amidst intensive consultations over recent days, in the presence of Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, and the Acting UN-African Union Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur and head of UNAMID, Aïchatou S. Mindaoudou.
Along with the UN-African Union mission, Qatar has been heavily involved in mediation efforts aimed at bringing an end to the conflict in Darfur, particularly with the DDPD, which forms the basis for a permanent ceasefire and comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting that began in Darfur nine years ago, pitting Government forces and allied militiamen against rebel groups.
"The Mediation calls upon the other non-signatory Movements to follow suit the Justice and Equality Movement and soon join the peace process with a view to alleviating the suffering of the population and restoring peace to all parts of Darfur," the UNAMID statement noted.
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is one of the rebel movements in Darfur. Another rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), signed the DDPD in Doha last year.
Established in July 2007, UNAMID has the protection of civilians as its core mandate, but is also tasked with contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements and assisting with an inclusive political process, amongst other responsibilities.