Doha — A splinter faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the government of Sudan signed a ceasefire agreement in Doha, Qatar, on 10 February, which was due to take effect at midnight in Darfur, UNAMID says.
JEM's faction was represented by Arko Sulaiman Dahiya, Vice Chairman and Head of Delegation. The government of Sudan was represented by Amin Hassan Omer, State Minister and Head of the Darfur Follow-Up Office.
The Agreement was signed under the auspices of the Acting Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator a.i. Ms. Aichatou Mindaoudou and Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud.
"This is a major breakthrough in the road towards a comprehensive and lasting peace accord in Darfur", said Mindaoudou, adding that "[t]he road to peace is challenging and needs a great deal of resolve, perseverance and concessions from both sides".
She expressed hope this would "attract non-signatory movements to join in the peace process" and called on these groups to listen to the advice of the international community and join the peace process.
The text of the accord includes provisions related to monitoring mechanisms. The parties will start negotiations on other issues according to the agenda agreed upon on 24 January.
'Matter of time'
Jibril Adam Bilal, JEM spokesman, downplayed the ceasefire agreement claiming the splinter faction "does not even have fire to cease, as it did not fire one bullet since it separated from JEM" when speaking to Radio Dabanga on Monday.
He further said this agreement confirms it was a matter of time before the group would join forces with the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and suggested it is now "under protection of the joint Sudanese-Chadian forces".
Soon, Bilal predicted, the faction will become a pro-government militia fighting rebels in Darfur and all of Sudan.