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Last obstacle for resumption of Darfur peace talks has been overcome: Minnawi

Minni Minnawi SRF leader speaks during the opening session of the group's general coneference held in Paris on 12 Oct 2017 (ST photo)

November 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Minni Arko Minnawi, the head of a Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction said that the last obstacle for the signing of the pre-negotiation agreement had been overcome.

The Sudanese rebel leader made his statement after a meeting in Addis Ababa on Friday including the SLM-MM and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) with the African Union-United Nations Joint Chief Mediator Jeremiah Mamabolo to discuss the resumption of the peace talks.

"I would like to thank all those who have exerted efforts to overcome the hurdle of the pre-negotiation agreement, especially UNAMID, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), the governments of the United States of America, Qatar, Germany, the Troika and the Berghof Foundation," said Minnawi in a statement posted on Twitter.

"Our thanks to every state and NGOs that have contributed," he added in his tweet in Arabic and English.

In statements to Sudan Tribune last November, JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim said that the Sudanese government agreed to form a New Independent Implementation Mechanism (NIIM) for any future peace agreement reached in Darfur. He further underscored it was the only obstacle to negotiations between the two sides.

The Joint Mediator did not yet issue a statement about the meeting, but it seems as he confirmed the NIIM’s inclusion in a pre-negotiation agreement negotiated in Germany earlier this year.

During Berlin talks, the two armed groups accepted to negotiate on the basis of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) after years of rejection of the framework agreement. But they asked to allow them to add new items to the agenda of the talks and to establish a NIIM.

After an initial refusal, Khartoum in October informed the German and American facilitators that they accept the creation of the new implementation mechanism. The Qatari mediator has also discussed the issue with them during a meeting held last week in Doha with the two groups.

In a separate statement, Ahmed Tugud JEM chief negotiator said the two delegations met with the head of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki to encouraged the parties to move towards the conclusion of a peace agreement.

The statement added that Moussa called on the AUPSC and the Joint Mediator called to exert more efforts for overcoming the obstacles and pushing the Sudanese parties to achieve peace as soon as possible.

Tugud further said the AUPSC Commissioner Smail Chergui chaired the meetings with the joint peace mediators and reaffirmed they would follow closely the Sudanese peace file and he would make new proposals for the Sudanese government to resume the peace talks as soon as possible.

(ST)