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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Darfur civil society kicks off its meeting in Doha

November 17, 2009 (DOHA) — The consultative forum of Darfur civil society kicked off today in the Qatari capital with the participation of 170 groups in a bid to associate them in the ongoing efforts to end the six year armed conflict in western Sudan.

The Doha process started in February 2009 with talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). However the two parties failed to continue the peace talks after Khartoum refusal to release over hundred rebels sentenced to death.

JEM spokesperson Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune yesterday that most of the civil society representatives are supporters of the ruling National Congress Party; he also urged the mediation to include delegates from the displaced and refugees camps.

Djibril Bassole, the Joint Chief mediator and Qatari state minister for foreign affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud stressed, in their speeches at the opening session, on the important role of the civil society in the peace and reconciliation process as well as its responsibility to bring the warring parties to the negotiating table.

The peace process concerns all the sons of Darfur, said Bassole who added that this meeting would be followed by others in Darfur.

He further said the mediation is in constant contact with all the rebel groups, emphasizing that concerted efforts and rebel unity are needed to stop the armed conflict in Darfur.

Minister Al-Mahmoud encouraged the tribal reconciliations concluded by traditional leaders, stressing that the Darfur civil society is well placed to achieve peace. “You know the requirements of peace and you know how to bring peace,” he added.

The minister also said that Qatar’s keenness to achieve peace in Darfur comes from its acknowledgement of what Darfuri did in the past. It is your ancestors who had clothed Kaaba – a shrine located in Mecca Saudi Arabia and is considered as the holiest place on earth for Muslims – said Al-Mahmoud.

A Sudanese delegation led by state minister Ibrahim Hassan Omer is expected to arrive in Doha for talks with the rebel groups.JEM delegation which in Doha for discussion on the strategy of the peace process said would not take part at the negotiating table. However, a delegation of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Revolutionary Forces led by Mahgoub Hussein is already there with other groups.