24 January 2013

Sudan: Govt Says Darfur Rebels Willing to Discuss Peace, JEM Denies

Photo: Tim McKulka/ UN Photo
Troops patrol in Abyei area (file photo).

Khartoum — Rebel movements are willing to continue dialogue on ways to end the 10-year conflict in Darfur region, said the head of a committee aiming to persuade the non-signatories to join the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD).

The All-Darfur People Conference held in May 2011 to discuss and endorse the DDPD draft text decided that a liaison committee should be formed to engage in dialogue with the rebels who so far refuse to be part of the process.

Chairman of the liaison committee Sadiq Wadah, who met rebels groups last week outside the country, said on Wednesday that Darfur movements had expressed a willingness to continue discussions to realise the aspirations of Darfur people for a just and comprehensive peace agreement.

He added that he had met with the chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Jibril Ibrahim, head of a faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Minni Arko Minnawi, as well as Abu Al-Gasim Imam El- Haj and Hafez Hamoda of SLM - Abdel-Wahid.

The Sudanese government and Tijani Al-Sissi's Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) endorsed the DDPD on 14 July 2011, but JEM, which had been part of the Doha process, declined to approve the framework agreement, instead demanding more talks.

In a statement he released on Monday, JEM spokesperson Gibreel Adam Bilal confirmed the meeting between his movement's leader and Wadah, reiterating the position of his group and calling for a comprehensive solution to the crises affecting Sudan.

Bilal also reaffirmed JEM's total rejection of the Doha document, stressing that the movement's leadership remains convinced the regime is not serious in its search for a comprehensive peace addressing the root causes of the conflicts.

The spokesperson says JEM leadership further told Wadah that the committee will waste its time unless they are certain that the regime has changed its partial vision to the resolution of Sudanese issues, and is resolved to achieve peace with a new spirit of cooperation.

JEM and the two SLM factions, as well as the Sudan People's Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), sought earlier this month to gather the opposition parties in Kampala to forge a joint platform, with the aim to overthrow the regime and re-establish a secular and democratic state in Sudan.

A SPLM-N delegation visiting New York met on Tuesday with UN Security Council (UNSC) members to brief them on the latest developments in the country and explain their position on the ongoing armed conflict in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

SPLM-N secretary general Yasir Arman said they met with representatives of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Luxembourg and the United States to discuss the humanitarian situation in Blue Nile, Darfur and South Kordofan.

He said they called on UNSC members to bring together the efforts of the head of the African mediation team Thabo Mbeki and Darfur joint chief mediator Mohamed Ibn Chambas to form a new unified strategy to end the conflict in the three areas.

The approach adopted by the international community focuses on the resolution of post-separation issues between Sudan and South Sudan and aims to resolve the crisis of South Kordofan and Blue Nile in line with the 2005 agreement, which led to the independence of the new state.

The international community has backed the DDPD, but recently blamed Khartoum for not honouring its financial commitments to the Darfur Regional Authority which is tasked with the return of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees.

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