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Sudan, armed groups in Darfur to sign pre-negotiations deal in Berlin

JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim speaks in a press briefing held in Paris on 1 December 2018 (ST Photo)
December 1, 2018 (PARIS) - Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) leader Gibril Ibrahim announced that a pre-negotiation agreement with the Sudanese government will be signed next week in Berlin paving the way for the resumption of peace talks between the two sides.

The deal which will be signed by the Sudanese government, JEM and Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) provides that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) will serve as a basis for the negotiations.

Also, the agreement, which was brokered by the German government, says that the armed groups can add further issues to the agenda of the talks and that a new independent implementation mechanism will be set up to enforce the would-be-signed deal.

"The Pre-negotiation Agreement will be signed in Berlin on 6 December. The signing ceremony will be attended by our allies in the Sudan Revolutionary Front and the Sudan Call," said Gibril Ibrahim in a press briefing held in Paris on Saturday evening.

JEM leader said during the past period they held different meetings with the mediators and facilitators to define the roles of the different mediation mechanisms, the DDPD place in the upcoming talks, the issues to be discussed and its link to Darfur or the whole Sudan, and finally the establishment of the new implementation mechanism.

After the signing of the pre-talks deal, the parties on Darfur peace process will discuss a humanitarian cessation of hostilities deal in Addis Ababa brokered by the AUHIP and them move to Doha where the Qatari and the AU-UN mediator will mediator the peace talks.

"The pre-negotiation agreement will not include references to "Darfur" or "Sudan". So, this enables us to raise important issues, notably freedoms and human rights," he said.

During a recent meeting with the Joint Chief Mediator Jeremiah Mamabolo in Addis Ababa on 23 November, Ibrahmin and Minnawi signed a draft pre-negotiation agreement to demonstrate their commitment to reach a lasting peace agreement ending the war in Darfur region.

Before to initial the deal, the two rebel leaders insisted on the need to remove references to Darfur and Sudan from the text, as the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) seeks to amend a roadmap agreement and cancel a "national dialogue" phase in the political process dedicated to the national issues.

For the two armed opposition groups, if the discussions with AUHIP on the national process lead to this amendment, they will keep their right to discuss the national reforms during the negotiations for peace in Darfur.

MEETING WITH AUHIP ON 9 DECEMBER

Ibrahim said the Sudanese political and armed groups member of the Sudan Call alliance will meet on 9 December with the AUHIP Chair Thabo Mbeki to discuss his proposal to jamb directly to the constitutional conference once the armed groups sign peace deals ending war in Darfur and the Two Areas.

He pointed out that the AUHIP adopts the same position as the government, and believes that the parties have to discuss the drafting of the Constitution and then participate in the elections.

The added that they want to replace the national dialogue by the discussions at the constitutional conference considering it pave the way for democratic change.

"Our vision is different," he said. "We see that the current structure and the existing (ruling party) are not conducive to any form of change."

"We will have a meeting with the mechanism either we agree on a new way to re-install the issue of national dialogue or we will leave the AUHIP, do things our own way and have nothing with them," he stressed.

(ST)