25 January 2014

South Sudan: Sudanese President to Meet Darfur Ex-Rebels Over Peace Implementation Row

Khartoum — Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir on Sunday will meet with the leader of the former rebel Justice and Equality Movement - Bashar (JEM-Bashar), Bakheit Abdallah Abdel-Karim (Dabajo), in a bid to resolve a conflict over the implementation of a peace deal they signed in Doha on 6 April 2013.

JEM Bashar last Thursday suspended its participation in the meetings related to the implementation of power sharing and security arrangements agreements and accused the head of Darfur peace implementation Amin Hassan Omer of slowing the deal. The former rebels further said he has no power to implement it.

The spokesperson of the group al-Sadiq Youssef told Sudan Tribune on Saturday confirmed the meeting adding they want to be represented at the level of the Sudanese presidency, federal government and Darfur Regional Authority (DRA).

Youssef added they demand also the establishment of nomad and pastoralists commission and social care fund agreed in the peace deal.

JEM-Bashar spokesperson further underlined the delay in the formation of the cease fire commission, adding that UNMAID did not yet start the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process. He also complained that the presidential pardon of the ex-combatants is not implemented.

Last Thursday the former rebels criticised the head of Darfur peace implementation follow-up office state minister, Amin Hassan Omer, blaming him for "his lack of enthusiasm" to implement the peace agreement.

But Darfur peace implementation follow-up office said in a short statement that JEM-Bashar have new demands not provided in the signed peace agreement, a matter they cannot deal.

In 2011 Minni Minnawi broke his commitment to a peace deal signed with the government in May 2006 after accusing the government of dishonouring it. The main difference between the two parties was about the implementation of the security arrangement.

Following the signing of the peace deal, JEM-Bashar said they got two positions on the federal level, a minister and a state minister besides a seat in the national parliament.

The group also will chair two of three bodies they negotiated their establishment: nomad and pastoralists commission and social care fund. The third is a fund to support micro finance projects.

According to the rebels, JEM-Bashar obtained five ministries in the DRA government, 10 positions in the DRA parliament and a deputy speaker, besides six ministers in Darfur states and five commissioners.

Regarding the security arrangements deal, the government agreed to exempt the then general commander, Dabajo, from the special conditions the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) require before to get the grade of officer in the army.

The 6 April agreement seen by Sudan Tribune does not include the power sharing agreement which is negotiated separately but not released by the parties.

JEM-Bashar leader Dabajo was appointed last year after the death of its former leader Mohamed Bashar near the Sudanese Chadian border in May 2014 following the signing of the Doha agreement.

The group said his convoy had been assaulted inside the Chadian border by JEM mainstream led by Gibril Ibrahim while the latter say they were in a legitimate defence accusing the splinters of attacking them inside Sudan.

Last Thursday in a briefing to the UN Security Council, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous said that limited progress have been achieved by the signatories of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD)

"The parties must accelerate the implementation of outstanding provisions of the agreement, with an increased focus on tangible benefits to local communities, including the close to two million displaced," Ladsous said.

Before JEM-Bashar, the DDPD, a framework agreement for peace in Darfur, is signed by the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) on 14 July 2011.

The non-signatory groups including JEM-Gibril Ibrahim, Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid Alnur and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi refuse to engage talks on Darfur alone and demand a comprehensive process for peace in the whole Sudan including the rebel SPLM-N and other opposition forces.

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