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Sudan Tribune

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Rebel JEM suspends their participation in Darfur peace process

March 20, 2009 (LONDON) — The justice and Equality Movement suspended today its participation in the Doha peace process one month after signing a goodwill agreement with the Sudanese government in the Qatari capital.

Khalil Ibrahim
Khalil Ibrahim
Hours after the issuance of an arrest warrant against President Omer Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) the Sudanese government ordered out sixteen aid groups working in Darfur region.

JEM, which had signed an agreement of confidence building measures with the Sudanese government on February 17 in Doha, called immediately after on Khartoum to reverse its decision saying it constitutes a clear violation of the goodwill deal.

JEM said on Friday it suspends its participation in the peace process until the “return of all evicted International NGOs and resumption of their operations.” The rebel movement underscored that the expulsion of the aid groups breaches the goodwill agreement which provides that the parties commits themselves to refrain from IDPs harassment and to not obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to the displaced.

The rebel movement also demanded Khartoum before to join the peace process to reverse another decision taken on March 16 by President Al-Bashir to sudanize the humanitarian activities in the country and to end the presence of the foreign aid groups in Sudan by the end of the year.

“This irresponsible decision of Sudanization of NGOs threatens survival of poor people across the Sudan and not only in Darfur,” said Ahmed Hussein Adam the JEM spokesperson.

Further, he pointed out that the aid groups “also crucial for success of repatriation of refugees and IDPs, rehabilitation and development that follow any peace agreement in Darfur and the rest of the country.”

UN organizations said the impact of the impact of this expulsion would be disastrous in Darfur, where an estimated 2.7 million people have been displaced from their homes over the last four years – half of whom are children – and where the suspended NGOs were key partners in the provision of life-saving services.

The rebel group which stressed that sole Khartoum bears the responsibility of this decision said that the government should release JEM members who are detained or imprisoned in the Sudanese prisons.

Khalil Ibrahim the leader of JEM urged the UN Security Council to impose a No-Fly-Zone in Darfur proposing to facilitate the entry of the aid workers and humanitarian convoys through the neighboring Chad.

The rebel leader also warned that if Bashir refuses to cooperate with the ICC they would carry more attacks on the government positions in order to topple Bashir’s regime.

(ST)