24 January 2013

Sudan and Darfur Rebels Agree On Agenda for Peace Talks

Khartoum — The Sudanese government and a rebel faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have agreed on an agenda to negotiate a peace deal, an international official told the U. N. Security Council.

Sudanese minister Amin Hassan Omer and rebel chief ngotiator Arko Suleiman Dahia sign the framework agreement with the Qatari minister Al-Mahmoud and UNAMID deputy chief attend the ceremony in Doha on 24 January 2013 (QNA)

Edmond Mulet, U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping operations, informed the Security Council on Thursday about that the "breakthrough in the negotiations" which started on 20 January "just before wrapping up" a briefing about the political, security and humanitarian situations in Darfur.

He told the 15 member-council that the Sudanese government and a JEM faction led by Mohamed Bashar were expected to sign "a framework agenda that would set the parameters for negotiations on the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur".

Nahar Osman, political adviser of the rebel group, told SMC, a government-linked media, that the two parties signed the framework agenda agreement and will start negotiations in line with a timetable the mediation will set out.

He further stressed that the agenda they proposed is not inconsistent with the provisions of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in term of power or wealth sharing, compensation, return of displaced persons or refugees and justice or security arrangements.

The parties signed a cessation of hostilities and good will agreement in October 2012, however the mediation failed to bring them together in the past period due to their disagreement on a framework for negotiations.

The Sudanese government said the talks should be limited to power-sharing and security arrangements while the rebel group asked to open the DDPD entirely for discussion.

The group leader Mohamed Bashar told Sudan Tribune last year they want to review the seven chapters of the framework document to add guarantees to ensure its implementation by the Sudanese government.

He pointed out that provisions of justice and compensations are not yet implemented, the IDPs and refugees are still in the camps, and militia attacks on civilians continue to take place in Darfur, he said.

Mullet urged the international community to support the ongoing process in Doha "So that all parties, including the Government of Sudan, the Regional Authority of Darfur, and armed movements - both inside and outside the peace process - remained focused on the necessity of arriving at a peaceful settlement of the conflict."

The signing ceremony was attended by the Qatari cabinet affaires state minister Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud Sudanese state minister Amin Osman Omer, and the Deputy Joint Chief Mediator, Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, who plays an active role in the process.

Endorsed by the All Darfur Stakeholders Conference held in the Qatari capital in May 2011, the DDPD was signed by the Sudanese government and the former rebel Liberation and Justice Movement in July 2011.

Security Council President for January, Ambassador Masood Khan of Pakistan told reporters following the meeting that some council members expressed concern at the slow path of implementation of the DDPD as well as the lack of funding.

He added concern also were raised about the activities of the non-security movements, safety and security of UNAMID personnel and the question of visas was also among issues that came under discussion.

For his part Sudanese Ambassador, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, said the recent violence in the region was mainly caused by tribal fighting stressing it "had confirmed that the root causes of the Darfur conflict had concerned land and would persist given the competition over resources".

He further urged the Council dissociate itself from rebel groups "in Sudan and Darfur, and anyone who rejected the Darfur Document", who continue to hamper the international efforts to end Darfur conflict, as he said.

Osman accused South Sudan and Uganda of supporting and harbouring the rebel groups and asked the Council to hold South Sudan and Uganda responsible for placing obstacles in the path to peace in Darfur.

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