February 17, 2009 (CAIRO) — The Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak today met with Sudan’s senior presidential assistant Minni Arcua Minnawi who started an official visit for talks on the Darfur conflict.
Minnawi’s meeting came as Khartoum signed a declaration of goodwill with the Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the Arab Gulf state of Qatar.
The Egyptian state media said that discussions between Mubarak and Minnawi tackled ways to unite Sudan and resisting all attempts to break it apart.
Minnawi told reporters after the meeting that he went over the Doha peace talks noting that the negotiations included only “some parties and not all of them”.
He also expressed skepticism over the viability of the accord and asked if it was “equivalent to a ceasefire or cessation of hostilities or less than that”.
The former rebel leader criticized JEM saying they are more concerned with release of their detainees than the ceasefire.
Sudan’s senior presidential assistant fiercely opposed to the Doha peace talks describing it as “lacking”.
“If the Abuja agreement was lacking then what is happening in Qatar is lacking even further….It is a major disaster” Minnawi told a news conference last week.
“The Doha talks is a continuation of the scenario that I mentioned which is based on the claims by Khalil and his people that they are the only [power ] in Darfur and even in all Sudan” he said.
Minnawi signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) in 2006 with Khartoum and was later appointed as the senior assistant of the Sudanese president in August of same year.
The Egyptian government appeared uncomfortable with the growing role of Qatar on an issue relating to its Southern neighbor.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) quoted the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul-Gheit as saying that his government wants a “precise” role in order to “create a unified platform for all Darfur rebel movements”.
Today the state sponsored daily Al-Ahram newspaper described the agreement as failure on its front page.
“The Doha negotiations fail to reach a framework agreement to solve the Darfur crisis. Al-Mahdi [Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi] describes it as ‘failure’” Al-Ahram headline said.
The Qatar talks were delayed by one day after a JEM delegation got held up in Cairo for discussions with Egyptian officials.
Furthermore relations between Qatar and Egypt have gone sour over the Gaza conflict with both sides trying to claim leadership on the issue by hosting two summits around the same time.