11 January 2016

Sudan: Rebels to Re-Enter Negotiation Rounds

Paris / Addis Ababa — Leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) will meet with representatives of the Qatari government in the French capital today, to discuss solutions for the conflicts in Darfur.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has been invited for a second informal negotiation round in Ethiopia. They expect a major government offensive in South Kordofan.

Ahmed Tugud Lisan, head of the JEM delegation, told Radio Dabanga that mediator Thabo Mbeki, chairman of the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), had requested the Qatari government to directly talk with the main holdout Darfur movements.

The AUHIP mediation team is reluctant to take up the Darfur issue, in addition to the peace talks on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) between Khartoum and the SPLM-N, he explained.

According to the rebel spokesman, the Sudanese government is trying to please Qatar by preserving the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, regardless of its usefulness on the ground.

"The Doha peace accord exists on paper only. It has not resolved any of the problems of the Darfuris, in particular the victims of the conflict. On the contrary, it made the situation worse than before. The only beneficiaries of the Document are the signatories themselves."

"The government continues to link the Darfur issue with the Doha Document In an attempt to please Qatar," Lisan stated.

He said that the rebel leaders will meet with the Qatari delegation, chaired by Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Al Mahmoud, against this background. "We will demand them to either enter into real peace negotiations and set the Doha document aside, or entirely withdraw from the Darfur case".

"The government continues to link the Darfur issue with the Doha Document In an attempt to please Qatar."

He added that no specific agenda has been prepared for the meeting today. "We will discuss the outlines with the Qatari delegation."

The mainstream Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Abdelwahid El Nur declines to join any mediation meeting unless the situation on the ground is secure.

Two Areas

Mubarak Ardol, spokesman for the SPLM-N, announced that the movement has received an official invitation from the AUHIP for a second round of informal talks with the government, which will likely take place outside Addis Ababa.

Ardol told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that they "welcome any call for peace as a strategic option". He pointed out that the movement is currently consulting with its allies in the civil and political communities about the way forward.

He denied that the SPLM-N has agreed to take part in the ongoing National Dialogue deliberations in Khartoum.

'Major offensive'

Ardol further reported that the government is currently making extensive preparations for a major offensive in South Kordofan.

"Khartoum has enforced its army and militia forces on four axes: Abbasiya-Rashad in the north-eastern part of the state, the Kheirasana-Terouhi-Fama-Buheirat El Abyad axe in the southwest, the thee area of the state capital Kadugli, and the Talodi axe."

The spokesman confirmed the SPLM-N's readiness to "enter the peace talks as well as to counter the attacks by the government as we did the past couple of months in Blue Nile state".

He said that the SPLM-N combatants do not fear the second 'dry-season' military campaign announced by Khartoum to definitely put an end to the insurgency in the Blue Nile, and that may start at any moment in South Kordofan. "We only fear for the fate of the people living in these areas."

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