25 February 2013

Sudan: Darfur Rebel Demand to Increase Shares of Oil Producing Areas

Khartoum — A rebel faction in Darfur region demanded to increase the shares of oil producing area saying an equitable share of oil revenues is crucial to develop the war ravaged region after 10 years of war.

Sudanese government and a breakaway group of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Mohamed Bashar are holding talks in the Qatari capital Doha after the signing of a ceasefire agreement in January.

The two parties who negotiate on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) are currently discussing issues related to justice, compensation for civilians displaced by the conflict and refugees and wealth sharing.

"We believe that oil producing areas in Darfur and the rest of Sudan should receive 5% of the income generated by their oil," said Nahar Osman, JEM-Bashar's adviser and a member of the rebel negotiating team in statement to Sudan Tribune on Monday.

Nahar pointed out that current 2% share is not sufficient to develop peripheral areas. He added that also the priority should be given to the residents of the oil producing zone when it comes to recruit work force for oil installations.

On 27 December, 2012 President Omer Al-Bashir (C) inaugurated the Hadida oil field located on the border between East Darfur state and South Kordofan. The field produces 10,000 barrels of crude per day.

The rebel adviser said that they in addition proposed in the context of wealth sharing talks to create a fund for small projects aiming to support small activities initiated by poor families.

"There are many poor women with many children and such fund is important to support them," he said.

The rebel group, which broke away in September 2012, says they seek to ensure the full implementation of the DDPD and to improve the provisions related to the affected population.

Nahar went further to say they extended another propositions aiming to improve the situation of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees who are in the neighbouring Chad.

"We demanded to grant a tax exemption for all the belongings of our compatriots in Chad as many of them have developed activities there and they should not be harmed when they return", he said.

He further said they demand that all Darfurians students should be waived from university tuition fees as it provided in Abuja peace agreement signed in May 2006.

"The DDPD provides to exonerate only the students whose families are still in the IDPs camps and we have to change this and return to Abuja agreement", he said adding this measure should last for 15 years and not only 5 years.

Three rebel groups refuse to hold peace talks with Khartoum and demand to open a comprehensive and inclusive process leading to establish a democratic and secular state in Sudan.

The holdout rebel groups also ask to deliver the Sudanese officials accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to the International Criminal Court (ICC) which demands the arrest of president Omer Al-Bashir and other officials and a chief militia.

Commenting on the chapter of justice included in the DDPD, Nahar said they demand that more measures be added to the peace framework document to ensure that all crimes committed in Darfur be punished.

"In this regard, we demanded to control the performance of the Special Court for Darfur by a mechanism composed of UNAMID and civil society groups", he said.

The rebel official said they filled all these propositions, hoping to reach a compromise on it with the support of the mediation.

However he said they are still waiting a response from the government delegation.

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