July 21, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Darfur rebels, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have urged the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) to support the comprehensive solution for the Sudanese crises and to stop backing partial peace agreements with the Khartoum government.
- JEM chief negotaitor, Ahmed Tugud (file/AFP)
The African body, in a statement issued on 19 July, extended the mandate of the joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) for another year and called on the international community to keep supporting the ongoing efforts to achieve peace in Darfur, citing the Doha Document for Peace in Sudan.
The Council further admitted that the "Darfur crisis is a manifestation of broader political and social problems facing Sudan as a whole", but stressed that people in Darfur cannot wait any longer "for a comprehensive resolution of the conflict". It further added that there is a constitutional review process that can tackle such challenges.
JEM peace secretary and chief negotiator, Ahmed Tugud, released a statement on Sunday calling on the PSC to "reconsider its isolated position" and to move towards supporting a comprehensive solution, which has become a "sweeping trend that would be hard to resist".
Tugud who has led the negotiating team of his group since 2004, said that the PSC is "in serious contradiction with itself" because it acknowledges that Darfur conflict is an expression of the Sudanese crisis and at the same time continues to support partial solutions.
He also argued that "how can the Council still [insist on] call for partial solution at a time when the international community is now firmly convinced about the futility of partial solutions", and started seeking ways to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The rebel chief negotiator said such a position raises doubts about the neutrality of the Council and its seriousness in the search for a real solution to Sudan’s crisis.
The alliance of rebel groups including JEM, two factions of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and SPLM-North sought since last year to convince the international community to support their demand for a comprehensive solution leading to establish a new democratic regime in Sudan with greater autonomy to the different regions.
American and Canadian diplomats seem to be supporting such approach, according to Minni Minnawi - the leader of one of the SLM factions - and other rebel officials, but the two countries have not yet openly supported this approach with concrete proposals.
In a statement condemning the killing of seven peacekeepers on 13 July the Canadian foreign minister John Baird said "This incident underscores the failure of partial peace agreements in Sudan, and the need for comprehensive solutions to Sudan’s conflicts".
Also, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice has mentioned several times the need for a comprehensive solution to the Sudanese problems without giving further details.
The position of African Union PSC may hamper calls for this holistic approach which includes the opposition parties together with rebels and Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP).
Tugud said the Sudanese people will not listen to the position of the PSC because the "totalitarian regime" in Khartoum is not ready to achieve democratic transition, and they are resolved to change it by all means.
The peace and security council in its statement demanded "the non-signatory movements join the peace process without any further delay and preconditions in the interest of the population of Darfur".