March 18, 2010 (KHARTOUM) — The two major Darfur rebel groups including one which last month signed a framework agreement with the Sudanese government discounted the accord signed in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).
The LJM is an umbrella of rebel groups which has quickly rushed to unite in the wake of a similar agreement inked last month between Khartoum and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Khalil Ibrahim. El-Tijani El-Sissi, from the Fur tribe, was proclaimed as president of LJM. He is believed to have the backing of Libya and the US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration.
The JEM official spokesperson Ahmed Hussein said that the LJM "is not a real group with no presence on the ground or among the Darfuris. He accused the Sudanese government and the mediation team of pushing the group to join the negotiation table "for political reasons"
Hussein said that LJM leader Sissi "is an employee of international organization who woke up one day to find himself a leader of a movement. He has no history in the struggle of Darfur".
However, the senior JEM official said it is premature to talk about withdrawing from the talks as they have trained before.
Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur lead of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) who enjoys wide popularity among the Darfuri IDP population said the agreement "is merely ceremonial one that lines up with all the others signed before".
"Security is a prerequisite for any negotiations. This is the ABC of conflict suspension. There is an ongoing genocide to our people and violence is on the rise and the [Sudanese] regime is pursuing more creative ways of killing" Al-Nur said.
The SLM chief vowed that his forces "will resist the attack on our people and defend them at all costs". He stressed that pressure by international powers "to have peace on paper" will not lead to a solution to the conflict in the war ravaged region.
The U.N. estimates that some 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have been displaced since ethnic African tribesman in the vast arid western Darfur region took up arms against the Arab-dominated central government complaining of discrimination, lack of political representation and neglect.