Home | News    Thursday 28 April 2011

Darfur mediators hand draft peace agreement, urge Sudan and JEM to make progress


April 27, 2011 (DOHA/KHARTOUM) — Darfur mediator handed today as scheduled a draft peace agreement to the three Sudanese parties participating in the Doha talks to end the eight year conflict in Darfur region. They further called on the Sudanese government and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) make progress in the direct talks.

Al-Mahmoud and Bassole in a meeting with the sudanese parties in Doha (file photo QNA)

Joint Chief Mediator, Djirbil Bassole, and Qatari state minister for foreign affairs, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, announced on 19 April that the draft will be followed by a general conference for Darfur stakeholders to take place on 18-23 May to debate on the content of the agreement.

Delegation from the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) nonetheless, failed to discuss effectively a number of issues and they are yet to agree on the agenda.

"The Mediation has today, Wednesday, 27April 2011, submitted a draft Darfur peace document to the heads of delegations participating in the Darfur peace process in Doha," said a statement put out by Al-Mahmoud and Bassole on Wednesday evening.

The mediation said the parties have to study the peace document and to submit their final observations by 7 May.

However due to the slow progress in their direct discussions, they particularly urged the government and JEM to "continue to negotiate urgently and directly and to submit the outcomes of their discussions by Saturday 7 May 2011 for inclusion in the final draft document."

In their latest meeting on Tuesday 26 April, Khartoum and JEM rebels diverged on what should be discussed in the meetings. The government delegation said disposed only to discuss the draft of the peace agreement stipulating talks should not alter the draft agreement.

The rebels for their part, said the agenda should be determined according to the framework agreement signed last year and the discussion papers circulated by the two parties on the pending issues.

"We can’t accept a document we are not party in its elaboration as a framework for the talks, also we are more concerned by peace more than any deadline," said Gibreel Adam Bilal, JEM spokesperson.

Gibreel told Sudan Tribune that the government does not seek seriously to reach a peace deal with JEM "the government does not want to dialogue with us but they do not want to say that frankly".

Following the return of the Sudanese government delegation to Doha, after its withdrawal from December to mid-February, JEM and Sudanese government did not directly discuss any of the issues included in the agenda of the peace negotiations.

However JEM adopted three from four chapters discussed and agreed by the government and LJM rebels. The group further demanded to discuss the wealth sharing with Khartoum. On the pending issues, the rebels said Khartoum should prove its willingness to reach an agreement over Darfur administrative status in Doha and asked that this issue to top the agenda of the direct talks.

In the Sudanese capital, the National Elections Commission announced that the referendum on Darfur status will take place on the first of July putting more pressure on the rebel delegations.

The other rebel group participating in the talks, Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) who suffers a recent dissidence rejected the referendum saying should be part of the peace agreement and be held after its signing .

JEM spokesperson said they raised in yesterday meeting the need to include the other rebel groups emphasizing that a comprehensive and inclusive peace agreement remains the best option for a durable and viable settlement in Darfur. He said the lesion of Abuja should not be repeated.

The Joint Chief mediator Djibril Bassole announced last week he is called by his government to assume the foreign affairs portfolio and he will resign after the general conference of Darfur stakeholders.

Presidential adviser in charge of Darfur file, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen told MPS from the ruling party today, Amin Hassan Omer, government’s top negotiator is called to Khartoum for consultations on the draft peace agreement.

The Sudanese government said it needs a quick conclusion of the Doha process as it plans to hold an internal process to settle the conflict with the participation of tribal leaders and civil society group.

Also, the head of the AU high level panel on Sudan, Thabo Mbeki will launch a process similar to that of Sudanese government for reconciliation and redemption in Darfur. The panel however is struggling to secure the needed funds for the operation.


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